Sen. Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) authored a resolution to end Gov. Gavin Newsom’s nearly two-year-old COVID State of Emergency.
But her resolution has never been granted a hearing despite requesting one at nearly every session of the Senate since it was introduced. Here is what SCR 5 says:
SCR 5, as amended, Melendez. State of emergency: COVID-19: termination.
Thursday, perhaps in anticipation of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s scheduled press conference later in the day “to Unveil the Next Phase of California’s Nation-Leading Pandemic Response,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) released the following statement on a Senate hearing being set to debate the merits of a resolution to end California’s state of emergency:
“This week, SCR 5 by Senator Melendez was set for the first Senate Governmental Organization Committee hearing of the year on March 15. The Committee will debate the merits of the resolution and the implications it will have on California’s ability to respond to the COVID emergency. I understand we are all tired of living life in an emergency, but ending the emergency must be done responsibly to ensure there are no unintended consequences so we can continue to meet the need of our state’s residents in an unpredictable future.
“In addition to the Pandemic State of Emergency, California has dozens of open state of emergencies related to drought, wildfires, and other natural disasters where recovery and clean up continue. A majority of these emergency declarations have been active for years and remain in place to ensure that communities can recover and needed federal funding is provided to assist in the clean-up and relief efforts. Under the current pandemic emergency declaration, there are a number of active executive orders that allow the state to quickly purchase and distribute COVID test kits to schools, administer vaccines, provide test results, and keep our workplace protocols in line with public health orders. Additional information on the hearing will be made available through the committee.”
If the governor announces an end to the state of emergency, SCR 5 is a moot point.
The next right move may be if lawmakers consider limiting the emergency powers of a governor in the future following this two-year fiasco.
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