Lawmakers to return to Statehouse with chance to override two vetoes

Indiana Statehouse (IBJ file photo)

Lawmakers are set to return to the Indiana Statehouse on Monday to make technical corrections—a session in which they could also vote to overturn two vetoes by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, in consultation with House Speaker Todd Huston, scheduled the corrections session, a Senate spokeswoman announced Wednesday.

Lawmakers established the technical corrections day in 1995. They can use the day to fix errors in new laws, but they aren’t supposed to make major changes. They also are allowed to overturn gubernatorial vetoes, which they can do with a simple majority vote in both chambers.

The governor has vetoed three bills this session, including one for House Enrolled Act 1123 that was overturned by the General Assembly while lawmakers were still at the Statehouse in mid-April. HEA 1123 sets up a new process for the General Assembly to call itself into an emergency session, even though the state constitution explicitly gives the governor that authority.

The other vetoes, of Senate Enrolled Act 303 and SEA 5, took place after lawmakers had headed home from the Statehouse.

As such, the Senate may consider the governor’s vetoes of SEA 303 and SEA 5 on Monday.

SEA 5, which was vetoed Tuesday, would have allowed local elected officials to overrule orders issued by a city or county health department during a public health emergency.

SEA 303 would have required additional labeling for Indiana gas pumps that distribute E15, a fuel blend that contains up to 15% ethanol in gasoline.

Of the two measures, SEA 5 appeared to generate the most controversy.

Holcomb said he vetoed the bill because it would hamper the ability of local health officials to respond to emergencies.

Many Republican lawmakers said it was needed to allow local officials to have checks and balances over health departments when health officials impose restrictions on residents during emergencies.

During a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat, spoke favorably of Holcomb’s decision to veto the measure.

“I’ve been grateful to Governor Holcomb for continuing to allow local health authorities to set the guidelines that makes sense for their communities, especially important in a county like Marion County, because of our population, and our density, which is far different from our neighboring counties,” Caine said.

Hogsett encouraged lawmakers to let the veto stand.

“I hope we never, ever have to endure a pandemic again,” he said. “But in those times of crisis. I think it’s, frankly, indisputable that it’s better to have the experts in charge, with all due respect to elected officials. It’s better in the course of a public health crisis, to have the experts making the recommendations and the decisions surrounding that. And those are people who put data, and science, first.”

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12 thoughts on “Lawmakers to return to Statehouse with chance to override two vetoes

  1. Override the vetoes!

    As we found with the Plandemic, too many power hungry tyrants relished in their authority to be in control more politically than scientifically for the safety and welfare of the public.

    Monkey see, monkee do, swamp puppet Holcomb is a good example of this abuse of power trampling our Constitutional Rights.

    The Plandemic could’ve and still should be managed by those who represent the will of the people in a specific area that might be under different circumstances than another.

    Blanket decrees didn’t fairly administer to most all.

    Also too many vying Federal and State government agencies overlapping each other drunk on authority and power crossed Constitutional limits that our state legislature could’ve got a handle on when swamp puppet was trying to win brownie points with Washington D.C liberals and leftists.

    1. Darrell W. You should take a civics class to see how authority is delegated in the the US. On top of that, public health departments at the local and state level have broad authority to regulate local actions to keep the public safe. What is good in Indy may not be good for Gary, or Evansville so allowing local control of public health orders makes tons of sense. What this law is talking away is the ability for the health department (or even the water company) to issue a boil water order in case of a water main breaks, unless the city county council gets involved. If you are OK with 500,000+ dead in the pandemic, then I guess killing a few more people with contaminated water is OK with you too?

      If the legislature was doing anything but parroting right wing talking points over politicized scientific advise, then I might say you had a point, but with 500,000+ people dead I would say you lost that argument too.

  2. I thought the Republican ideal was all about State & Local control! This is the 3rd or 4th legislation in a row where the Indiana Legislature is taking control away from local entities and giving it to themselves. Aside from being a power grab(s), these laws are very likely unconstitutional.

    I am in agreement with Dan M. And although I am a Democrat, I think for the most part Gov. Holcomb did an admirable job handling the very difficult situation that Covid-19 presented. At least until the end when he loosened things too quickly at the first signs of virus abatement, resulting in a resurgence of cases and deaths. So this is the opposite of Darrell W.’s opinion.

    Bottom line: The State Legislature should not be unconstitutionally taking authority away from Indianapolis or any other local governing entities, nor from the Governor. We’ll see what the courts say.

  3. I don’t get the controversy re SEA 5. Unless the story is inaccurate, it gives local elected officials the power, but not the obligation, to override their own non-elected health departments orders as and when they see a need. If Boss Hogg in Indy doesn’t want to override his health czar, fine, don’t. But if the mayor of Gas City or Jeffersonville thinks his/her health dept has gone a bit too far, why can’t he/she direct the bureaucracy to modify their orders? I thought the bureaucracy was supposed to be accountable to the people through their elected leaders, not to “science.”

    Someone definitely needs to retake civics, Dan, and I’m afraid it’s you.

    1. It’s an issue because the elected officials in Gas City or Jeffersonville likely have absolutely no scientific or medical background to make good public health decisions. If Jeffersonville or Gas City officials decided to let a virus run rampant, there’s nothing that stops their people from traveling to Indianapolis and spreading their diseases. Sorry that you think wearing a mask is such a violation of your freedoms. Talk about first world problems.

  4. General question – what’s the purpose of having a veto that can be overridden by a simple majority? Has it always been this way in Indiana? I guess I need a history lesson on this one.

  5. No Dan, Not into the bleeding extremism in your examples.

    What it’s about bottomline is to have oversight here locally in all of the counties and districts of the state and not Puppet everything from D.C. to the Govenor’s office and agencies offices just in Indianapolis as Holcomb does here far too often that oppress unnecessarily other areas not affected as much as another area.

    Another point people in the past made there own free choices during more wide spread epidemics of the past of what was best for themselves and their local community down to the town square. It definitely worked better with less government oversight.

    You talk about how civics work, issues by local authorities progress up the ladder legislatively from ground zero until the situations are remedied and not the other way around in a mass flood of usurping Governor rule flooding over all on most any issues by just evoking “Emergency” over his decrees.

    Who is one man Holcomb or Dr. Baux that can tell my community that they don’t know what is totally essential or not essential?

    The Plandemic is bigger than one man and all along Holcomb was resentful to state representatives advocating for their constituents for what they knew was best for their communities that he was clueless to and used or corroborated D.C. puppet health agencies here like a exploitive brickbat to get his way clueless as they were the same. They were the bullets he loaded his “Emergency” gun with and aimlessly shot with.

    Holcomb took the voice away from the local community, city halls, businesses, church, etc. and imposed his opinion and will that reflected and used a Democrat political stance that had and has no relevancy to the Plandemic.

    The Plandemic brickbat and hammer is being pried from Holcomb’s hand.

    1. Spare us, Darrell. Like Robert said, one of the Indiana GOP’s guiding principles the last few sessions has been stripping local control from Indianapolis. They don’t care one whit about local control.

      The Legislature could have ended the emergency orders at any point during the last session. John Jacob entered the paperwork on organization day. Why didn’t they just vote on it? Why do we need more laws to make up for legislative incompetence?

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