I hope all is well with you and your family this summer. The House is in the midst of a special session that began on Monday and I would like to pass along a few notes to get you up to speed.
But, before we get to that, there is one other thing I would like to touch on: We are reaching 60 days removed from the end of the regular 2020 session, at which point legislators are not permitted to send email newsletters such as this until after the November election. I will continue working on issues and representing the folks of 12B, it is just that email communications will be on an individual basis for the time being.
You also may want to check out my official Facebook page, where I will continue to provide updates from time to time. In any case, please continue reaching out to me to let me know how I can help or to weigh in on whatever issues may be important to you.
As for the current special session, the House convened on Monday with several items up for discussion. While issues such as public safety reform, a bonding bill to fund projects throughout the state and tax relief remain works in progress, the only thing that has been settled is the governor extended his emergency powers by another 30 days.
If this sounds familiar, it is because the same thing happened a month ago; a special session took place, the governor extended his powers by 30 days and most other issues remained on the table when we adjourned after eight days.
We are now into our fifth month under his unilateral rule. There seems to be no end in sight for when this may end because, so far, he is unwilling to give up his power and the House majority is unwilling to step in and participate in the decision-making process. On Tuesday, the House majority blocked a move to take the matter up for discussion on the House floor.
The governor declared a peacetime emergency back in mid-March so he could make quick decisions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. That act may have been warranted four months ago, but the time for instant decisions has passed. We now are in a management phase and all 201 legislators should be involved in deciding how we can best re-open our state while protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
I want to be clear that ending the governor’s emergency powers does not indicate the COVID-19 outbreak should be taken lightly. While we take this issue seriously, we also recognize it is time to return to our Constitution as designed, restoring balance at the Capitol. Key decisions ranging from school reopenings to mask mandates and beyond should be made by 201 legislators and not be in the hands of one single executive.
Until next time, have a good summer and please stay in touch.