Rockford, Illinois News

State lawmakers push to limit governors’ virus powers

(ROCKFORD ADVOCATE) — State lawmakers across the country say they are attempting to curb the the power of governors and health officials to implement emergency COVID-19 restrictions like mask mandates and business shutdowns.

Lawmakers in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Indiana and Pennsylvania are currently on board, filing bills to limit gubernatorial strengths. In Pennsylvania, legislators pushing for a constitutional amendment to  limit  the emergency powers of Gov. Tom Wolf (D). If approved, the measure would be placed on the May ballot.

“(The amendment would) make it unequivocally clear that our General Assembly is a co-equal branch–that we are not a monarchy and that our voices matter,” Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Wayne Langerholc told the Associated Press.

The Wisconsin State Assembly is expected to vote on a measure that would repeal Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate. Republicans in the assembly say the Democratic Evers overstepped his authority by using a string of executive orders to extend the mask edict beyond 60 days without legislature approval.

Republicans in Michigan are threatening to withhold school funding if Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) does allow a return to in-person learning and permit sports to resume.

In Ohio, Republican Sen. Rob McColley has filed a bill to rescind fellow GOP Gov. Mike DeWine’s emergency orders that have included business shutdowns and curfews. McColley’s bill calls for a committee to review the orders. DeWine is expected to veto the bill, as he did last year, if it passes.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s orders are also not popular among members of his own party. Republicans have the same gripe as lawmakers in Wisconsin, claiming Holcomb exceeded his 60-day executive powers.

Bills to curb gubernatorial powers are also reportedly being filed in Arizona and Kentucky.

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