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Governor mum on whether he will appeal challenge to executive power

Gov. Eric Holcomb still isn’t saying whether he will appeal the Oct. 7 ruling by a Marion County judge that the General Assembly can call itself into session—a power he said belongs to the governor alone.

During the 2021 session, Indiana legislators passed HB 1123 in response to Holcomb’s handling of the pandemic, particularly his renewing of state emergency orders, giving themselves more power to intervene.

The judge said in his ruling that the Indiana Constitution gives the General Assembly the authority to decide how and when it will meet. The judge also said the legislature can meet outside of its normal annual sessions, which begin in January and end in March or April.

Holcomb countered in his lawsuit that the state’s constitution allows only the governor to call the legislature into an emergency or special session later in the year.

A press secretary for the governor told The Statehouse File Thursday that there was no update concerning the governor’s decision to keep pursuing his case or not. In a statement to The Associated Press on Oct. 8, Holcomb said, “I’m very open minded at this. We’ve got time to make a very informed decision, and we’ll use as much time as we need.”

Some legal experts think the dispute will end up being decided by the Supreme Court. It’s a power struggle playing out across the country, with lawmakers in all 50 state legislatures attempting to limit executive powers since COVID-19 swept the country, with about half passing.

Indiana health officials have said that the pandemic has killed almost 16,000 Hoosiers as of Oct. 13, with over 700,000 killed nationwide. — Claire Castillo is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.