I believe today is the last day Governor Pence can veto the “Imperial Mayor” bill. (If he fails to either sign or veto it, it becomes law without his signature.)
Leaving aside the numerous problems with the bill itself (the provisions eliminating the At-Large Councilors have gotten most of the attention, but they are the least of it–as I’ve written previously, the provisions shifting powers to the Mayor are an invitation to serious corruption), the political calculus is interesting.
Pence has taken a lot of criticism for his less-than-vigorous performance in office thus far. In a number of situations, he’s done a pretty credible imitation of a potted plant. A veto of a bill sponsored and passed by his own party, accompanied by a defense of home rule and/or good-government principles, would begin to change the perception of indecision and floundering, and would look principled.
A veto would also take a potent issue off the table before the next Mayoral race. Indianapolis residents of both parties have expressed outrage over the legislature’s “we know better than you what’s good for you” attitude. The General Assembly’s refusal to let us decide for ourselves whether we want transit was bad enough, but most Indianapolis people I know–Republican or Democrat–see the Imperial Mayor bill as a giant “fuck you.” Paul Ogden has written what is probably the best analysis of why the bill is bad politically for the GOP. Indianapolis is getting bluer by the year, but resentment over this bill is likely to accelerate that process.
So a veto would make the Governor look statesmanlike, and would actually do his party a favor.
The question is: does he understand that? We’ll see today.