Indiana Pays Practically $520,000 to Regulation Agency for Governor’s Go well with | Indiana Information

By TOM DAVIES, Related Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana governor’s workplace racked up greater than $500,000 in authorized payments for its profitable court docket battle in opposition to an try by state legislators to provide themselves extra energy to intervene throughout public well being emergencies.

The state has paid virtually $520,000 to the Indianapolis legislation agency Lewis Wagner for its illustration of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb within the lawsuit, based on information from the state auditor’s workplace.

Holcomb employed the legislation agency as Republican state Legal professional Normal Todd Rokita, whose workplace usually represents the state in court docket, sided with the GOP-dominated Legislature within the dispute. The legislation aimed to provide legislative leaders authority to name the Normal Meeting into an “emergency session” after the governor declared a statewide emergency.

The governor’s workplace referred Friday to earlier feedback wherein Holcomb mentioned the lawsuit was vital as a result of actions taken by the Legislature beneath the legislation might have been challenged as unlawful and led to “important uncertainty” throughout a time of emergency.

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“From the start, this case offered essential procedural, statutory and constitutional questions that solely the courts might reply,” Holcomb mentioned.

The Indiana Supreme Court docket agreed with Holcomb, issuing a unanimous determination in early June that the legislation violated the state structure.

The governor’s workplace first signed a contract with the legislation agency in July 2021 for as much as $195,000. That contract was amended in November and June to extend the utmost quantity to $525,000.

The lawyer common’s workplace, which represented the Legislature within the dispute, didn’t monitor the time its employees spent on the case or rent any exterior help, Rokita spokeswoman Molly Craft mentioned.

Regardless of the state Supreme Court docket’s ruling that the legislation was unconstitutional, Rokita mentioned in an announcement that the governor’s authorized invoice “was a waste of Hoosier taxpayers’ hard-earned cash.”

“As we identified on this case, Indiana taxpayers already pay the workplace of the lawyer common to litigate a lot of these issues on their behalf,” Rokita mentioned.

The state Supreme Court docket’s determination settled the authorized battle that lasted greater than a 12 months over the legislation that was a response to Holcomb’s efforts to take care of the COVID-19 pandemic. Holcomb’s attorneys contended that the state structure permits solely the governor to name the Legislature into conferences for consideration of recent legal guidelines exterior of its annual classes that start in early January and adjourn by the top of April.

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