Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb marked his first month in office by issuing two executive orders that pardoned Keith Cooper, declared a disaster emergency in East Chicago and also announcing the termination of contract discussions with Agile Networks to provide Broadband service to rural areas.
Holcomb announced the actions today at his availability with the Statehouse media.
His executive order this morning pardons Keith Cooper for his 1997 felony robbery conviction in Elkhart County. Mr. Cooper served nearly 10 years in prison for the crime but was released early for time served in 2006. All eye witnesses in the case have recanted their testimony, and DNA evidence does not implicate Mr. Cooper in the crime. Further, the Indiana Parole Board unanimously recommended that a pardon be issued. While in prison, Mr. Cooper was also sentenced for a charge of battery and pleaded guilty. Mr. Cooper requested a pardon for that felony conviction, as well. However, the Governor’s executive order does not pardon this battery conviction, because Mr. Cooper has never claimed innocence or a defect with the prosecution of that case.
On the issue of East Chicago, the Governor’s executive order declared a disaster emergency for the East Chicago Superfund Site—322 acres of land in northwest Indiana that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified as having lead contamination. The State of Indiana had already taken steps to help address and respond to the situation, with coordinated efforts by Indiana’s State Department of Health, Housing and Community Development Authority, Family and Social Services Administration, Department of Insurance, and the State Board of Education. This 30-day emergency declaration is focused on helping to relocate nearly 100 residents who remain at a housing complex within the affected area and engaging with agency leaders in the new federal administration.
And on Agile Networks, the Executive order terminates contract discussions between the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) and Agile Networks to manage, operate and market the state’s communications infrastructure—including cell towers. IFA and Agile Networks have been unable to come to an agreement on the terms of the contract.
You can hear Governor Holcomb in the Leon-Tailored audio above. He also discusses changes to the House Republican road funding plan, early childhood education and other issues pending before the legislature.