Editor, Times-Union:

I would just like to come out and say that Curt Nisly’s letter saying that Gov. Eric Holcomb has gone too far was 100% correct.

Gov. Holcomb does not have Constitutional authority to demand that a restaurant shut down lobby seating to its customers. All one has to do is read the Indiana Constitution to see that the executive does not have that authority. Some will try to point to Indiana code that would give him that authority. However, legislative authority is not supreme to the Constitution.

The Indiana Constitution is quite clear. Article 1, Section 26 states that, “The operation of laws shall never be suspended, except by the authority of the General Assembly.”  Gov. Holcomb suspended nine laws in one executive order (see EO 20-11). The governor also violated Article 1, Section 31, prohibiting people to assembly together in a peaceable manner to consult for their common good […].”  

The governor does have Constitutional options at his disposal if he feels the need to arise. Article 4, Section 9 gives the governor to call a special session of the General Assembly. While Article 5, Section 20 gives the governor the authority to convene the General Assembly at any other place, Eric Holcomb ignored the Constitution and Curt Nisly was the ONLY legislator to tell him he has gone too far!

The governor has decided on his own that restaurants can’t allow customers into their establishments on his own accord. The restaurants are more than capable of deciding for themselves if they should not serve people inside their lobby. They can limit seating, keep people apart and do extra steps to ensure the health and welfare of their customers. They do not need government to step in because government overreach is always that, overreach.

I would go so far to say that Gov. Eric Holcomb made the problem worse by shutting down dine-in service and forcing non-essential people to stay home. The governor has further created a sense of fear. That fear is going to drive MORE people to grocery stores where they could expose themselves to the coronavirus. So, in the end, he’s doing more harm than good. I would like to ask the governor who gave him the authority to decide who is essential and who is not?

Lastly, and I want anyone to try to answer this question, because I’ve asked many people and have yet to receive an answer. If you are willing to let Gov. Holcomb make this decision on his own, at what point would you tell him that he’s gone too far? If Gov. Holcomb closed the supermarkets, would you complain? If Gov. Holcomb closed all the factories, would you complain? If Gov. Holcomb forced you to stay home under fear of arrest would you complain? Where is your line?

People like Curt Nisly have always been principled and have stood up to the governor to tell him he’s gone too far. I am proud for Curt Nisly to take his stand and to stand up for the liberty of all Hoosiers. To people like Curt, every Hoosier is essential.

Gary Eppenbaugh

Warsaw, via email