INDIANAPOLIS—On Thursday, the Indiana House voted to override Governor Holcomb’s veto of House Bill (HB) 1123, a proposal that would shift legislative powers away from the governor in cases of emergencies. One provision in the bill would allow legislators to call themselves back into a special session during emergency circumstances. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Eddie Melton (D-Gary), who voted against HB 1123 in the Senate, released the following statement on the House’s vote to override the governor’s veto:
“HB 1123 is on its way back to the Senate, and I urge my Senate colleagues not to follow the path of the House,” Sen. Melton said. “When there’s an emergency like what we saw with COVID-19 this past year, it’s important that our state is able to act swiftly and efficiently to promote the health and safety of Hoosiers. One of the reasons we have a governor is to respond on behalf of the state to matters like this public health crisis. I may not have agreed with the governor on every one of his decisions in response to this pandemic, but I do believe he had the best interests of Hoosiers in mind. During a time of crisis, it also just makes sense for one person to be acting and responding as quickly as the crisis demands rather than having over one hundred people in the Legislature try to agree on a response.
“While I do believe we need to carve out a path for the General Assembly to be involved during emergencies, especially when it comes to how federal dollars that the state receives are allocated to communities, this bill is not the answer. I will be voting to sustain the governor’s veto of HB 1123, and I hope my colleagues in the Senate do the same. This proposal is not what’s best for Indiana residents. During an emergency situation, the last thing the people need is multiple people weighing in, delaying a quick response and trying to make decisions that need to be made immediately for the safety of the people.”