Gavin Newsom is increasingly isolated at the Capitol. In the days since I introduced ACR 196, Legislators of both parties have joined me in expressing alarm at the Governor’s consolidation of power.
“What’s the point of a Legislature if we’re, like the public, watching TV to get information?” asked Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) as he decried the Governor’s “complete authority to do whatever he wants.”
Here’s a sample of headlines from the last few days:
Bipartisan Pushback Grows Against Newsom (MSN)
Time to Cut Off Newsom’s Blank Check (LA Times)
Capitol Distress over Newsom’s Powers (KCRA)
Bipartisan Lawmakers Criticize ‘Overreach’ (Sac Bee)
Lawmakers Deliver Harsh Newsom Criticism (Politico)
Even the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office is “very troubled” by the extraordinary powers the Governor is claiming. Its report concludes: “We urge the Legislature to resolutely guard its constitutional role and authority.”
The Legislature can do just that with ACR 196, which would terminate the Governor’s emergency powers. Dan Walters writes that passing the Resolution would be “analogous to a no-confidence vote.”
Importantly, ending the State of Emergency doesn’t mean the virus is no longer a concern. It means the Governor can no longer rule the state by decree. The vaccine timeline, after all, is 12 to 18 months. If Gov. Newsom wields emergency powers that long, our democratic institutions will be grievously damaged.
In just two months, he’s issued 39 executive orders and changed 200 California laws without any process. He’s also spent billions without oversight, including a botched $1.1 billion deal with BYD China where the masks failed a federal safety test.
Churning out orders with the stroke of a pen is certainly easier than a legislative process. But our Founders made a deliberate choice that making new laws shouldn’t be easy. In the name of freedom and human flourishing, they defined the powers of government as limited, distributed, checked, and balanced – precisely the opposite of Gavin Newsom’s runaway one-man rule.