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Holcomb mulling whether to sign few remaining bills from 2024 session

Eric Holcomb sits in his office. Holcomb is a White man with white and gray hair and beard, wearing a suit.
Alan Mbathi
/
IPB News
Indiana governors can take one of three actions on legislation sent to them. They can sign bills into law, let them become law without their signature or veto them.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed all but a few bills lawmakers sent to him in the 2024 session.

Two of the measures left in the balance include controversial provisions involving the state’s public access counselor and a Gary lawsuit against the gun industry.

The public access counselor language was dropped into HB 1338 near the very end of session, with no meaningful opportunity for public comment. It would confine their interpretations of the state’s public access laws to the plain text of the law when issuing advisory opinions.

It also makes them an at-will employee, subject solely to the whims of the governor, who appoints the position. Currently, the public access counselors serve four-year terms.

Holcomb said thousands of state employees are at-will and that he encourages “contrarianism” among his staff.

“You’re getting all perspectives represented,” Holcomb said. “So, I’m hopeful that whoever follows in my footsteps will value that as well.”

READ MORE: Lawmakers do more 'heavy lifting' than expected in 2024 session's short nine weeks

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 765-275-1120. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues, including our project Civically, Indiana and our 2024 legislative bill tracker.

On the legislation that would end the city of Gary’s 25-year-old lawsuit against gun makers and sellers, Holcomb said he’s reviewing arguments from both sides.

HB 1235 would only allow the attorney general’s office – and no other government entity in the state – to sue the gun industry, even if they do something illegal.

The governor has until March 19 to make a decision on those measures. He can sign the bills, let them become law without his signature or veto them.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.