On February 8, Senate Republicans voted to override Governor Holcomb’s veto of Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 148, which addresses tenants and their protections from negligent landlords. SEA 148 does not directly concern the CDC or state eviction moratorium.
The bill was approved out of the legislature last session by the supermajority and would preempt all ordinances by local governments relating to any aspect of the landlord-tenant relationship. This would drastically limit their ability to address local rental housing needs and issues. Despite the governor’s veto of SEA 148, due to its broad language and the ongoing pandemic, the supermajority voted against the governor’s decision. State Senator Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) had the following response to the override of SEA 148:
“The National Low Income Housing Coalition released a report this past year stating that this could be the most severe housing crisis in our nation’s history. Upwards of 313,000 Indiana households could be at risk of eviction,” Sen. Qaddoura said. “So, I am very disappointed that a proposal like SEA 148 is being pushed at a time like this. We are still working to combat this pandemic, and so many Hoosiers are facing increased instability and hardship. We should be supporting our residents—not taking away essential protections when they need them most.
“I will not support any action in the Senate that would threaten the housing security of renters and their families, or prevent Indiana municipalities from extending their own protections to Hoosiers where the provisions of state law are not enough. By overriding this veto, what we are saying to responsible tenants in Indiana is that they do not deserve to know their legal rights under contract. This is just not good public policy. Repealing good public policy that aims to protect vulnerable Hoosiers during a public health crisis is a step in the wrong direction, and I proudly stood with the governor in opposition to this bill.”