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Where Gov. Holcomb's Emergency Powers Come From

Lauren Chapman
IPB News

Hoosiers will remain under a “Stay-At-Home” order for the next couple of weeks after Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Friday he will extend his directive.

Provisions in state law empower the governor to make and enforce such an order.

Holcomb has issued more than a dozen executive orders directed at the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, he restricted restaurants and bars to carryout and delivery only, and he rescheduled Indiana’s primary election.

It was all made possible when he declared a public health emergency on March 6. That triggered provisions in state law that, among other things, empower the governor to “employ any measure” during the declared emergency to help prevent and suppress the disease.

Though Indiana governors have had disaster emergency powers for decades, the broad expansion of those powers came in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

One of the only things the governor is expressly barred from doing during an emergency is restrict sales, possession or use of firearms.

This story is in response to a question we received through the Indiana 2020 Two-Way. To join, text "elections" to 7-3-2-2-4.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.