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Indiana Lieutenant Governor Takes Over

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  • David
    Indiana Lieutenant Governor Takes Over The Associated Press September 9, 2003 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana s lieutenant governor assumed the duties of acting
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2003
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      Indiana Lieutenant Governor Takes Over

      The Associated Press
      September 9, 2003


      INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana's lieutenant governor assumed the
      duties of acting governor as Gov. Frank O'Bannon lay in critical
      condition Tuesday following a stroke.

      Doctors on Tuesday said that O'Bannon, 73, had evidence of brain
      damage and that it was too soon to say whether he would pull
      through. They said he would probably remain in an induced coma for
      several days.

      State officials decided, for now, not to invoke the process spelled
      out in the Indiana Constitution for formally transferring authority
      to Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan.

      ``I want to be absolutely certain that Frank cannot discharge his
      duties and responsibilities, and I want that confirmed by his staff
      and Joe Kernan and his family and the doctors before I initiate the
      suggestion the court consider it,'' Senate President Pro Tem Robert
      Garton, a Republican.

      O'Bannon, a Democrat in his second term, was found in his pajamas,
      unconscious and near death, on the floor of his Chicago hotel room
      Monday morning. He had suffered a type of stroke that involves
      bleeding in the brain.

      In Chicago, Northwestern Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Kelly
      Sullivan said doctors saw evidence of brain damage, but the extent
      of it was not yet clear.

      O'Bannon is expected to remain under sedation for at least several
      days. Patients with such injuries are often placed in drug-induced
      comas to help relieve the pressure on the brain and allow it to rest
      and heal.

      Kernan became acting governor under a provision in the state
      constitution that allows him to temporarily carry on business
      without a formal transfer of power. A formal transfer requires a
      petition from legislative leaders and state Supreme Court approval.

      The acting governor met with Tim Joyce, the governor's chief of
      staff, who said they had discussed how to carry on the office's day-
      to-day duties -- everything from reviewing agency vacancies to
      issuing proclamations.

      ``We're doing what Frank O'Bannon is expecting us to do,'' Joyce
      said.

      Nothing on O'Bannon's previous schedule required immediate action on
      Kernan's part.
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