Balancing the Powers of Indiana Government

From State Senator Jean Leising
One of the main lessons we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that, under a statewide emergency, it makes sense for Indiana residents to have all branches of their state government involved in making decisions that affect them. House Bill 1123 would allow the General Assembly to play a more active role in decision-making during statewide emergencies.

To ensure the governor is communicating with members of the General Assembly during disaster emergencies, HB 1123 would create the Legislative State of Emergency Advisory Group. The 10-member bipartisan group would consult with and advise the governor during emergencies that the Legislative Council determines have a statewide impact, and would share information with other legislators about the emergency.

Additionally, if the governor declares a state of emergency that the Legislative Council determines has a statewide impact, HB 1123 authorizes the Legislative Council to convene an emergency session of the General Assembly at their discretion.

Finally, under HB 1123, all federal stimulus dollars that the state can spend at its discretion would be subject to legislative oversight.

The General Assembly is also working to pass legislation this session that would create an appeals process for local health department actions during emergencies; allow compassionate visitation in nursing homes; protect religious freedom during emergencies; and improve oversight of our elections.

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