Override vote expected at Statehouse after Holcomb vetoes emergency powers bill

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indiana lawmakers could be readying for a second veto override vote this session, after Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of a bill that would curb his emergency powers.

All of us have been impacted in some way by the pandemic. For months, some Hoosiers have complained about Holcomb’s coronavirus-related orders. A bill made it to the Governor’s desk that would’ve allowed the General Assembly to call itself into a an emergency session, to consider legislative action, in response to a gubernatorial declaration of a statewide emergency. Friday. Holcomb vetoed the bill.

“Well, I’m not surprised. We heard from the governor very early on in the process that his plan was to review (House Bill) 1123 and more than likely veto it, which he did exactly what he said he was going to do. That’s his right,” State Rep. Matt Lehman, a Republican from Berne, said.

House Democrats told News 8 they believe emergency powers should stay in the hands of the governor.

“I believe the bill still should be vetoed. I think we shouldn’t have passed it in the first place and the governor should keep those powers,” State Rep. Robin Shackleford, a Democrat from Indianapolis, said Monday. “I don’t think they belong in the hands of 150 individuals trying to make a decision about a mask mandate, or should a business be open or should a daycare be open. You have a lot of decisions that have to be made very quickly. Trying to build together our assembly, it can take a lot of time and a lot of different point of views and perspectives.”

In a letter dated Friday and sent to House Speaker Todd Huston, Holcomb called a central part of the bill unconstitutional..

“There’s a lot of people that have opined on their concern with the constitutionality of this. I believe the constitution does not prohibit what we’re doing. I think under the circumstances, we’re creating a very strict emergency session. I think we’re doing the right thing by having the people’s voice at the table during a long emergency similar to what we have today,” Lehman said.

Talks are happening now about a veto override vote.

“Both the Senate and the House are having that discussion. I think we’ll have pretty strong support to look at, if that’s the option we want, and move forward, then that’s what we’ll do,” Lehman said.

“Me and most of the other Democrats, we’re still going to vote no and voice our opinion, but of course we’re in a minority. I’m pretty sure his veto will get overridden,” Shackleford said.

Huston’s press director told News 8 that a date is not yet set, but a veto override vote is expected before the end of session.