IN Focus: Gov. Holcomb talks court battle with AG Rokita, legislature

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb says he’s still “friends” with Attorney General Todd Rokita despite their legal battle over a lawsuit against the Indiana General Assembly.

Holcomb took questions from reporters Thursday following an appearance at the Indiana State Fairgrounds – the day after his attorneys faced off in court for the first time against Indiana’s solicitor general, who is representing the attorney general and legislature.

Holcomb filed a lawsuit against the General Assembly regarding a new law that allows the legislature to call itself into special session during an emergency. Rokita is trying to have the lawsuit thrown out, arguing Holcomb cannot hire outside legal representation without the attorney general’s consent.

When asked about his relationship with Rokita, Holcomb responded, “We’re friends. We have an honest disagreement about a constitutional issue.”

Referring to public comments he made earlier this year, Holcomb added, “I’m not against whatsoever the legislature coming back and dealing with this. One, I’d call them back. Two, I offered that. Three, there’s a constitutional amendment process that’s pretty clear to me. I also recognize that I don’t have a law degree and if others disagree with that, so be it, and we’d settle it one way or another. And we will.”

Although he was not in the courtroom for Wednesday’s hearing, Holcomb said he’s feeling “pretty good” about his chances of succeeding.

“I am blessed with good legal representation,” Holcomb said. “And we’ll let the hearings play out.”

Holcomb’s battle in court comes as Indiana lags behind other surrounding states in COVID-19 vaccinations.

Holcomb said he still doesn’t believe a vaccine lottery is the way to get Hoosiers vaccinated – and is instead focused on increasing access.

“It’s a slog, and it’s going to be a grind,” Holcomb said. “I can’t change reality. If there are some people who are just dead set against it, it’s their personal responsibility.”

Although he didn’t stop Indiana University’s vaccine mandate, Holcomb said he’s against public schools and universities requiring the vaccine.

“I do support private businesses making that call,” Holcomb said. “But not public institutions.”

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