Coronavirus

Fifteen months later, Maine is finally terminating its state of emergency

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On June 11, Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced she was renewing the state of civil emergency, which was set to expire on June 13. She also announced that the state of emergency will expire on June 30.

Under Maine law, a state of emergency cannot last longer than 30 days unless renewed by the governor. Gov. Mills first declared a state of civil emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 15, 2021. Including the most recent extension, Mills has renewed the current state of emergency 16 times.

In a press release announcing the temporary extension of the state of emergency, the governor’s office stated the move was necessary “to ensure an orderly transition out of the emergency, allowing State government departments to continue necessary pandemic-related services.”

It also said the renewal will allow departments to identify policies that may need to be temporarily extended past June 30.

The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Maine is one of 18 states with states of emergency set to expire by June 16 or later. Another 17, plus the District of Columbia, had states of emergency that expired before June 15. That includes Wisconsin and Michigan, where the states of emergency ended following legal challenges brought against those states’ respective governors.

Wisconsin’s state of emergency ended March 31, when the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the governor doesn’t have the authority to issue multiple emergency orders related to the same emergency. Under Wisconsin law, the governor can issue a single executive order, which can be in place for 60 days, unless the legislature votes to extend it. 

Michigan’s state of emergency ended on October 12, 2020 following a ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court. At issue was Gov. Whitmer’s attempt to use state laws to issue emergency orders past April 30. The Michigan Legislature had passed a resolution extending the state of emergency to this date. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Whitmer didn’t have the authority to extend the state of emergency.

In New England, the governors of four states have announced their intentions to let their states of emergency expire. In Vermont and Massachusetts, the state of emergency expires on June 15. New Hampshire’s state of emergency expired on June 12.

Only Connecticut and Rhode Island have not yet announced an end to their states of emergency. Following the approval of the legislature, Gov. Ned Lamont recently renewed Connecticut’s state of emergency through July 20. Gov. Dan McKee recently extended Rhode Island’s state of emergency through July 9.

About Katherine Revello

Katherine Revello is a reporter for The Maine Wire. She has degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Maine. Her writing has appeared in Reason, The Washington Examiner, and various other publications. Got news tips? Contact Katherine at krevello@mainepolicy.org.

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