House Concurrent Resolution 8
We offered the first resolution brought forward on Tuesday to end the Governor’s emergency peacetime powers. This would allow elected members of the legislature to vote on any needed legislation responding to COVID-19 and to open our state.
This motion has never been heard in our state, and was brought forward by Republicans in both the old and new house caucuses. Should this resolution have passed, it would have immediately been sent to the Senate where the two chambers could then work together to quickly organize any necessary companion legislation needed to safely reopen the state. We worked with non-partisan research staff to correctly draft this resolution and work through the process, as it is different than the normal legislative process. Unfortunately, this motion failed.
The legislature has never faced a situation where the executive branch has taken its powers for an undefined period of time. The emergency powers were not intended to go unchecked. These powers were written to respond to natural disasters, where there is a clear end. In the case of viruses, which may always be present, the end to the powers is not clear. While the Governor's execution of his powers were well intended, they must not continue indefinitely. This creates a politically charged dilemma for the Governor, because COVID-19 is not disappearing. Any time we open our state, we will be opening with risk, and there will inevitably be deaths, however, continuing as we are, also presents deadly risks. The reality is we cannot sustain our current position. People in both parties must stop pointing fingers. This cannot be a politically motivated decision. This motion is not a reflection upon the Governor, but rather a reflection upon our reality and our form of government.