Governor Eric Holcomb has filed a lawsuit against Republican leaders in the Indiana General Assembly over a new law that would give the legislature the ability to call itself into a special session to review emergency orders. The governor, who vetoed House Enrolled Act 1123 before it was overridden, says such power is given exclusively to the governor under the state’s constitution.
The lawsuit, filed in Marion Circuit Court, seeks a declaratory judgment saying key provisions of the law are unconstitutional, as well as a permanent injunction preventing them from being used.
“I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the State of Indiana and I have an obligation do so,” Holcomb said in a news release. “This filing is about the future of the executive branch and all the Governors who will serve long after I’m gone.”
The lawsuit specifically names Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray (R-Martinsville), House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers), the Indiana General Assembly and its Legislative Council as defendants.
“HEA 1123’s very existence has created uncertainty and confusion,” the lawsuit says. “This controversy must be resolved as soon as possible or the consequences could be severe, including disruption to Indiana and the proper functioning of state government – something that concerns every Hoosier.”
Additionally, the lawsuit was not filed by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita; it was filed by attorney John Trimble, a former president of the Indianapolis Bar Association. Our partners at WIBC in Indianapolis report state law requires permission from the Indiana attorney general’s office for a state agency to hire outside attorneys.
Rachel Hoffmeyer, press secretary for Governor Holcomb, tells WIBC approval from Rokita wasn’t necessary because he would have a conflict of interest. However, In a statement Tuesday, Rokita said he declined to authorize outside counsel to represent the governor, saying his office was created to resolve a situation “where two parts of the state government disagree on a legal question.”
You can can view the full lawsuit below or by clicking here.