Increasing legislative oversight during a state of emergency

Increasing legislative oversight during a state of emergency

Friday, March 26, 2021

One of the bills Senate Republicans are supporting this year in response to the pandemic is House Bill 1123, which would allow the General Assembly to play a more active role in decision-making during statewide emergencies.

HB 1123 would create a bipartisan Legislative State of Emergency Advisory Group, which would consult with, advise and receive information from the governor during widespread emergencies. This 10-member group would be made up of leadership members from all four caucuses of the Indiana General Assembly.

HB 1123 would also allow the Legislative Council to convene an emergency session at their discretion if they determine an emergency declared by the governor has statewide impact. The Legislative Council must outline the agenda for the emergency session, and only bills relating to that agenda could be enacted. This emergency session could not last longer than 40 days and could run no longer than 10 days after the governor ends the state of emergency.

Lastly, under this bill, all federal stimulus dollars that the state can spend at its discretion would be placed into an Economic Stimulus Fund. Dollars disbursed from the fund when the General Assembly is in session would be appropriated by the legislature, and dollars disbursed when the General Assembly is not in session would require review by the State Budget Committee.

To follow HB 1123 through the legislative process and view other bills being considered this legislative session, click here.