Yesterday Gov. Newsom unilaterally re-closed large parts of the California economy, without involving the Legislature and without any clear public standards. All we got was his say-so.
The day before, he issued his broadest Executive Order yet. Order N-71-20 takes 41 separate executive actions, few of which involve the Public Health Code.
I previously introduced an Assembly Concurrent Resolution to end California’s State of Emergency and terminate Gov. Newsom’s emergency powers. It’s become a matter of utmost urgency that this Resolution be moved forward.
My Joint Author Assemblyman Gallagher and I are asking leadership to bring ACR 196 to the Assembly Floor for a vote. By cutting Gov. Newsom down to his standard allotment of powers, the Resolution provides absolute leverage to insist on less overreach and more transparent decisions.
If nothing else, this should be a matter of self-respect for a Legislature whose constitutional authority has been trampled.
My Resolution invokes the one check against a runaway Governor afforded to the Legislature by the Emergency Services Act. Section 8629 of the Act provides: “All of the powers granted the Governor by this chapter with respect to a state of emergency shall terminate…by concurrent resolution of the Legislature declaring it at an end.”
Dan Walters writes in CalMatters that passing ACR 196 would be “analogous to a no-confidence vote” in the Governor. The LA Times stopped just short of endorsing the Resolution, warning against “open-ended emergency declarations” and noting that “the governor seems to have missed the shift to a more methodical approach to managing the pandemic.”
Assemblyman Gallagher and I also took Gov. Newsom to Court and won a Temporary Restraining Order against him.
Thanks to the Governor’s delay tactics, that case remains on Appeal. But in yesterday’s LA Times, California’s former Legal Affairs Secretary bolstered the Court’s decision, saying several of Gov. Newsom’s orders “amounted to the creation of new laws,” which is something the “Constitution expressly prohibits.”
The result of the Governor’s disregard for the Constitution is months of one-man rule. He’s issued 46 Executive Orders, unilaterally changing 250 California laws. The Emergency Services Act was not meant to give a single person the ability to remake all of California law indefinitely.
An open-ended state of emergency, with boundless powers vested in a chief executive, is incompatible with democratic government. The Legislature has a duty to rein in the Governor and restore checks and balances in California.