Inside Augusta

Lawmakers submit more than a dozen bill requests to reform emergency executive power

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After nearly a year with one person unilaterally dictating public policy in Maine, some members of the state legislature are ready for the body to reassert itself as a co-equal branch of government.

Eager to help coordinate the state’s response to COVID-19, a group of Republican lawmakers and one Libertarian visited the State House Tuesday calling on legislative leadership to get their respective chambers back to work. The group says it wants Maine people to have a voice in the virus response through their elected representatives.

Just before the holidays, the legislature released a list of all legislator and department/agency bill requests submitted before cloture, the date by which all bill requests for an upcoming session must be submitted to the Revisor’s Office. Among the 1,690 requests submitted, more than a dozen look to rein in the governor’s emergency power or inject new checks and balances into the process the governor must use to declare and renew a state of emergency.

A preliminary review of the list of bill requests finds at least 15 were submitted by 12 different lawmakers for consideration this session. Those requests can be found below:

LR 28: An Act To Amend the Governor’s Emergency Powers, sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Dillingham of Oxford

LR 194: An Act To Require a Two-thirds Vote To Extend a State of Emergency, sponsored by Sen. Matthew Pouliot of Kennebec

LR 263: An Act To Require a Majority Vote of the House and Senate in Order for the Governor to Extend a Civil State of Emergency, sponsored by Rep. Justin Fecteau of Augusta

LR 303: An Act Regarding the Governor’s Powers in Emergency Proclamations, sponsored by Rep. Chris Johansen of Monticello

LR 329: RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Require Legislative Approval of Any State of Emergency Lasting Longer Than 60 Days, sponsored by Sen. Trey Stewart of Aroostook

LR 510: An Act Concerning the Governor’s Emergency Powers, sponsored by Sen. Stacey Guerin of Penobscot

LR 744: An Act To Protect the Rights of Maine Citizens during an Emergency, sponsored by Rep. John Andrews of Paris

LR 815: An Act To Establish Balance in the Governor’s Emergency Powers, sponsored by Rep. Heidi Sampson of Alfred

LR 1077: An Act To Narrowly Tailor Emergency Powers, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Keim of Oxford

LR 1078: An Act To Provide a Limited Emergency Declaration for Purposes of Federal Aid, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Keim of Oxford

LR 1316: An Act To Promote Transparent Emergency Management, sponsored by Rep. Dick Bradstreet of Vassalboro

LR 1432: An Act To Limit the Governor’s Emergency Powers by Requiring a Two-thirds Vote of the Legislature to Continue an Emergency after 90 Days, sponsored by Rep. Michael Lemelin of Chelsea

LR 1444: An Act To Require a Two-Thirds Vote of the Legislature Every 2 Weeks To Maintain a State of Emergency Declared by the Governor, sponsored by Rep. John Andrews of Paris

LR 1584: An Act To Require a Two-thirds Vote by the Legislative Council To Extend a State of Emergency, sponsored by Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham of Winter Harbor

LR 1912: An Act To Prohibit the Designation of Private Businesses as Anything Other than Essential during a Civil State of Emergency, sponsored by Rep. Justin Fecteau of Augusta

About Jacob Posik

Jacob Posik, of Turner, is the director of communications at Maine Policy Institute and the editor of The Maine Wire. He formerly served as a policy analyst at Maine Policy. Posik can be reached at jposik@mainepolicy.org.

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