(INDIANAPOLIS) — The House has passed a bill making it easier for legislators to push back on a
governor’s emergency order.
The coronavirus pandemic exploded days after legislators adjourned last year — they didn’t come
back for eight months, leaving no formal opportunity for them to weigh in on Governor Holcomb’s
emergency restrictions. House Majority Leader Matt Lehman (R-Berne) says he’s not second-
guessing the actions Holcomb has taken, but says the emergency law didn’t anticipate a crisis
that would last that long.
Lehman’s bill would give the 16-member Legislative Council the ability to call the House and
Senate back into session if the governor declares an emergency. The council comprises 10
members of the majority parties in the House and Senate, including the House speaker and
Senate president pro tem, and six members of the minority parties.
The bill also exempts houses of worship from emergency orders, and requires county
commissioners to approve any local health orders stricter than the state’s.
Five Democrats joined most Republicans in approving the bill 69-27. Four Republicans voted no,
maintaining the bill doesn’t go far enough.
The Senate will take up the bill next month.