INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday, Senate Republicans voted to override Governor Holcomb’s veto on Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 148. The contentious proposal, which was pushed out of the legislature last session by the Republican supermajority with little public input, would preempt all past and future ordinances by local governments relating to any aspect of the landlord-tenant relationship. This would tie the hands of localities, limiting their ability to address local rental housing needs and issues.
Despite the governor’s objections to SEA 148, due to its broad language and the ongoing pandemic, the supermajority voted to override the governor’s decision. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Eddie Melton (D-Gary) had the following response to the override of the SEA 148 veto:
“This is a uniquely bad proposal that not only tramples on the rights of local government, but puts vulnerable Hoosiers at increased risk of eviction and homelessness,” Sen Melton said. “It’s no secret that SEA 148 was brought forward last year in response to a proposal approved by the Indianapolis city council. The city’s proposal, which strengthened landlord-tenant relations, was a decision that they felt was necessary to protect their residents. The state should not be stepping in to retaliate against local governments that make decisions on behalf of their communities.
“It’s especially shameful that the supermajority is trying to pass this proposal now, as Hoosiers continue to struggle during this pandemic. This public health crisis is not over, and voting to override a veto that protects those in vulnerable living situations is not only ill-timed, but cruel. This proposal will substantially change existing landlord-tenant law and weaken state protections for renters, who make up more than 30 percent of the state’s population. Overriding this veto while we’re already in the middle of an eviction crisis is wrong.”