|Governor Eric Holcomb|
If you've been following this legislative session, the state's alcoholic beverage laws and how to pay for infrastructure repairs have dominated much of the talk, but, as the bills start to hit Governor Holcomb's desk, there's one piece of legislation that isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
The Indiana House and Senate passed House Bill 1523. The bill would give Indiana's many layers of government the freedom to charge taxpayers, the media, or anyone wanting public records up to $20 an hour if the search requires more than two hours of research. That can get quite expensive, and it can create a chilling effect especially for those who can't afford it.
Reporter Kaitlin Lange of the Evansville Courier-Press reports that Holcomb has several options. Like his predecessor, Mike Pence, he can veto the measure. Pence vetoed a similar bill when he was Governor. He can sign the bill, or he can allow the bill to pass into law without his signature.
The last option would be a cowardly way out, but it would give the Governor an out by saying that he didn't agree with the legislation and wouldn't sign it. By signing the bill, he would put himself in a position that could give Democrats an attack position in 2020 when and if he decides to run for reelection.
His best option would be to do what Pence did and veto the bill. The General Assembly would need just a bare majority to overturn his veto, but Holcomb would be on the record as standing with the Hoosier people against this ridiculous bill that would be a strike against government transparency.
He certainly hasn't done everything I've wished him to do, but Holcomb has been a much-needed advocate for Hoosier common sense so far in the Governor's Office. This bill seems like another opportunity for Holcomb to stand up and be counted and show his independence from the legislative branch.
Perhaps by telling the General Assembly to take a hike on this price hike, he'll wake them up a little.