It was only 14 days ago when the Legislature adjourned for the year…though it feels like an eternity has passed. And, the world is definitely different, than it was as Legislators left the Statehouse and returned to their communities. Since then, Covid-19 and the actions taken to “flatten the curve” have taken every ounce of energy our government – and all other – leaders have to give.
In the midst of that, though, the Governor had hundreds of bills that had passed the Legislature waiting for his action. On Wednesday afternoon – on the deadline day for him to take action – the Governor acted on the last three bills on his desk and vetoed one of them. This is only the 2nd bill he has vetoed during his first term as Governor.
The bill he vetoed Senate Enrolled Act 148, which was amended in the latter part of the Session with some controversial landlord/tenant legislation that many saw as an attempt to undermine the rights of tenants and also prohibited communities from passing legislation that would be more stringent than the State language. While supporters denied it, the language seemed targeted at recently passed Indianapolis City-County legislation that strengthened the rights of tenants. Indy passed that local ordinance after being listed as one of the top cities in the country for evictions – a black eye for the community. In his Veto Message, Holcomb commented that the “language in the bill is overly broad” and that with the Covid-19 actions, it was “not the right time for this language to become law.”
You can see all the bills that passed the full Legislature and reached the Governor on the Governor’s Bill Watch Page.
Because Covid-19 is taking all of our attention, I won’t go through the highlights of bills we’ve been tracking through the Session for you. I’ll continue to be in touch regarding the state’s actions on Covid-19 and will also communicate when the Legislative Council determines what issues will be considered during Interim Study Committees. I would not expect them to take that action until state and community operations are on a path back to “normal” after Covid-19.