The legislation would allow the General Assembly to convene, and terminate an emergency order issued by the governor.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is challenging the constitutionality of House Enrolled Act 1123.
The governor filed a lawsuit in Marion County Circuit Court on Tuesday. The lawsuit lists Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray, Speaker Todd Huston, and the Indiana General Assembly as the defendants.
Holcomb’s lawsuit asks a trial court judge to find key provisions of HEA 1123 unconstitutional and to issue a permanent injunction to prevent them from being used.
The legislation provides that the General Assembly may convene in an emergency session if the council adopts a resolution making certain findings concerning a state of emergency by the governor. Lawmakers could then terminate any emergency order enacted by the governor.
Holcomb vetoed the bill earlier this month, but lawmakers voted to override the veto just days later.
“The bill usurps power exclusively given to the governor,” Holcomb said.
Read the full lawsuit here.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita released the following statement:
"Under Indiana law, only the attorney general may determine and advocate the legal position of all of state government. And that exclusive authority exists for good reason—so that Indiana speaks in court with a single legal voice. In creating the Office of the Attorney General, the General Assembly resolved precisely this sort of situation—where two parts of the state government disagree on a legal question. And as the Indiana Supreme Court recognized more than forty years ago, the Attorney General exists to resolve such disagreements and “to establish a general legal policy for State agencies.” State ex rel. Sendak v. Marion Cty. Superior Ct., 268 Ind. 3, 6–7, 373 N.E.2d 145, 148 (1978). In declining to authorize outside counsel to represent the Governor here, the Office of the Attorney General is not beset by a conflict of interest but is instead fulfilling its core purpose—setting a single, unified legal position for the State as a whole.
The Indiana Supreme Court has also held that no state agency or office holder may file a declaratory judgment action. Allowing state agencies to resort to the judicial system for review of every statute passed would foster legislative irresponsibility and unnecessarily overburden the courts into issuing, essentially, advisory opinions."