Indiana pays nearly $520,000 to law firm for governor’s suit

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana governor’s business racked up additional than $500,000 in lawful charges for its productive court docket combat versus an endeavor by state legislators to give themselves a lot more power to intervene all through community health emergencies.

The point out has compensated pretty much $520,000 to the Indianapolis law firm Lewis Wagner for its representation of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb in the lawsuit, in accordance to records from the point out auditor’s place of work.

Holcomb hired the law firm as Republican point out Attorney General Todd Rokita, whose business normally signifies the point out in court docket, sided with the GOP-dominated Legislature in the dispute. The law aimed to give legislative leaders authority to connect with the Common Assembly into an “emergency session” immediately after the governor declared a statewide unexpected emergency.

The governor’s business office referred Friday to previous remarks in which Holcomb said the lawsuit was necessary since steps taken by the Legislature below the legislation could have been challenged as illegal and led to “significant uncertainty” during a time of crisis.

“From the beginning, this scenario presented important procedural, statutory and constitutional queries that only the courts could response,” Holcomb claimed.

The Indiana Supreme Court agreed with Holcomb, issuing a unanimous choice in early June that the law violated the condition structure.

The governor’s place of work initial signed a contract with the legislation firm in July 2021 for up to $195,000. That agreement was amended in November and June to increase the utmost amount to $525,000.

The attorney general’s place of work, which represented the Legislature in the dispute, did not keep track of the time its personnel put in on the circumstance or retain the services of any outside aid, Rokita spokeswoman Molly Craft reported.

Inspite of the condition Supreme Court’s ruling that the regulation was unconstitutional, Rokita claimed in a assertion that the governor’s legal monthly bill “was a squander of Hoosier taxpayers’ tricky-gained cash.”

“As we pointed out in this scenario, Indiana taxpayers previously spend the business office of the legal professional common to litigate these varieties of issues on their behalf,” Rokita mentioned.

The point out Supreme Court’s choice settled the legal combat that lasted far more than a 12 months more than the legislation that was a response to Holcomb’s attempts to offer with the COVID-19 pandemic. Holcomb’s legal professionals contended that the condition structure enables only the governor to simply call the Legislature into meetings for consideration of new legal guidelines exterior of its annual sessions that start out in early January and adjourn by the stop of April.