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What are the powers, duties of Indiana's lieutenant governor?

The Indiana Senate chamber, with no one in it.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Under the Indiana Constitution, the lieutenant governor serves as president of the Senate, presiding over the chamber.

Republicans’ nomination of self-described Christian nationalist Micah Beckwith for lieutenant governor is shining a brighter spotlight on that office.

Indiana’s lieutenant governor has more statutory duties than almost any other such officeholder in the country. They run the Department of Agriculture and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs. They also oversee tourism and housing offices.

Longtime political analyst Ed Feigenbaum said the greatest power the office can wield under someone like Beckwith is its bully pulpit.

“Being able to rally his supporters to go back and push individual senators back home and to push statewide for some kinds of changes,” Feigenbaum said.

READ MORE: What does it take to run for Indiana governor?

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Under the Indiana Constitution, the lieutenant governor serves as president of the Senate, who presides over the chamber during session. Feigenbaum said Beckwith could try to push that power as far as possible.

“He’s made it very clear that, as president of the Senate, he would be out there in lobbying for his policy priorities and not just merely serve kind of as a neutral arbiter,” Feigenbaum said.

The state constitution said the lieutenant governor can join in debates and must cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story included outdated duties of the lieutenant governor's office including serving as the head of the state's defense development and small business offices and counterterrorism council. That was incorrect. Those positions no longer exist.

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

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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.