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Assembly Concurrent Resolution 196: Terminating Emergency Powers

Relative to terminating the state of emergency proclaimed by the Governor on March 4, 2020.

WHEREAS, On March 4, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in California to mitigate the spread of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, Since proclaiming a state of emergency on March 4, Governor Newsom has issued 39 executive orders, unilaterally changing 200 laws spanning most sections of the California code; and

WHEREAS, Section 8629 of the Government Code, which is part of the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code), authorizes the State Legislature to terminate a state of emergency “by concurrent resolution of the Legislature declaring it at an end”; and

WHEREAS, A “state of emergency” in California is a legal term describing not merely conditions of extreme peril, but also the inadequacy of state and local institutions to combat the threat within the constraints of the California Constitution; and

WHEREAS, The Governor has provided a pathway for counties to attest to the ability to locally manage the response to the COVID-19 virus and to accordingly reopen many businesses and activities, and 29 of 58 counties have so far attested, with 53 total counties believed to be eligible to attest as of May 18, 2020; and

WHEREAS, On May 17, 2020, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report stating that they are “very troubled” by the authority the Governor seeks to take away from the Legislature in his May Revision, and stated that “we urge the Legislature to jealously guard its constitutional role and authority”; and

WHEREAS, The California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code) also provides local governments the ability to proclaim a local emergency in response to COVID-19, which authorizes the state to provide “mutual aid, including personnel, equipment, and other available resources, to assist political subdivisions during a local emergency or in accordance with mutual aid agreements or at the direction of the Governor”; and

WHEREAS, Nothing in this resolution prevents a local jurisdiction from proclaiming a local emergency to mitigate the spread of COVID-19; andWHEREAS, An open-ended state of emergency, with boundless powers vested in a chief executive, is incompatible with democratic government; and

WHEREAS, It is critical that a proper balance is restored between the legislative and executive branches; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature, in accordance with Section 8629 of the Government Code, declares that the state of emergency proclaimed by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 4, 2020, is at an end and that the emergency powers granted to the Governor as a result of that proclamation are terminated; and be it further

Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the Governor of California.

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