Judge weighing Indiana governor’s suit over emergency law

Indiana

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher talks with reporters outside a Marion County courtroom in Indianapolis on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, after he and a lawyer for Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb argued before a judge over the constitutionality of a new state law giving legislators increased power to intervene during public health emergencies. (AP Photo/Tom Davies)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A top state lawyer argued Friday that Indiana’s constitution gives the Legislature full authority to meet when it wants, urging a judge to reject the governor’s lawsuit challenging the increased power state legislators gave themselves to intervene during public health emergencies.

The lawsuit filed by Gov. Eric Holcomb has divided Indiana’s Republican hierarchy as he maintains the law passed over his veto this spring violates constitutional provisions allowing only the governor to call the General Assembly into special session after its annual session ends.

State Solicitor General Thomas Fisher told a Marion County judge that a 1970 constitutional amendment allowing the Legislature to meet each year gave lawmakers “maximum flexibility” on deciding when to meet and that legislators could pass a law setting meeting times outside their current annual sessions that adjourn by the end of April.

Richard Blaiklock, one of the private lawyers representing Holcomb, emphasized that the constitution gives authority only to the governor for calling the Legislature into a special session. He argued legislators were trying to make an “end run” around the constitution with the emergency session law.

The judge gave both sides 10 days to submit more court documents before he makes a decision.

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