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(INDIANAPOLIS) — Legislators are set to finalize a bill guaranteeing them a role in emergency

declarations as early as Tuesday, after backing away from proposals to limit the actions a

governor can take.

Senators cleared away a final potential roadblock by not holding a vote on several amendments

which would have limited the emergency actions a governor can take. One amendment, from

Crawfordsville Republican Phil Boots, would have removed public health from the list of triggers for

an emergency. And a sheaf of amendments filed by Indianapolis Republican Aaron

Freeman would have declared several actions off-limits, from business and church restrictions to

mask mandates.

President Pro Tem Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) says Republicans discussed the proposals amongst

themselves, but was vague about why they weren’t called for votes, saying the authors had their

own reasons. But he says the bill that remains is centered on legislators’ original goal of being

able to review an emergency declaration if they’re not in session. Legislators adjourned last year’s

session less than two weeks before the coronavirus’s rapid spread prompted a six-week lockdown

of the state. Lawmakers didn’t return to the statehouse for eight months.

The bill would allow the 16-member Legislative Council to call a special session. Governor

Holcomb has repeatedly contended that proposal is unconstitutional.

Bray says keeping the bill narrowly focused allows the House to take a single vote next week to

send it to Holcomb’s desk, without time-consuming negotiations on a final version. House Speaker

Todd Huston has indicated he wants to pass the bill well ahead of the session’s adjournment, to

allow time for an override vote if Holcomb vetoes it.

27 House Republicans had signed on to a resolution to terminate the pandemic emergency, but

Huston says Holcomb’s announcement he’ll do so himself means that resolution is dead. While

the most controversial provisions will expire April 6, the emergency declaration itself will remain in

effect through April 30. Bray says that allows quick action if infection rates surge again after the

steep decline of the last two months.

Huston says the time was right to end the mask order. And Bray says it’s appropriate to leave

local governments the ability to maintain their own restrictions if their local circumstances call for

it. Legislators are moving toward passage of a bill allowing businesses to appeal a health

department citation to the county commissioners, but the bill would leave counties’ emergency

powers intact.