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SCR-5 State of emergency: COVID-19: termination.(2021-2022)

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SCR5:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  February 02, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Concurrent Resolution
No. 5


Introduced by Senator Melendez
(Coauthors: Senators Bates, Dahle, Grove, Jones, Nielsen, Ochoa Bogh, and Wilk)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Megan Dahle, Gallagher, Nguyen, and Patterson)

December 22, 2020


Relative to terminating the state of emergency proclaimed by the Governor on March 4, 2020.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SCR 5, as amended, Melendez. State of emergency: COVID-19: termination.
This measure, in accordance with specified law, would declare that the state of emergency proclaimed by the Governor on March 4, 2020, is at an end, thereby terminating the emergency powers granted to the Governor as a result of that proclamation.
Fiscal Committee: YES  

WHEREAS, On March 4, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in California to mitigate the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, Since proclaiming a state of emergency on March 4, Governor Newsom has issued over more than 47 executive orders, unilaterally changing 200 laws spanning most divisions of the California codes; and
WHEREAS, Section 8629 of the Government Code, which is part of the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code), authorizes the State Legislature to terminate a state of emergency “by concurrent resolution of the Legislature declaring it at an end”; and
WHEREAS, A “state of emergency” in California is a legal term describing not merely conditions of extreme peril, but also the inadequacy of state and local institutions to combat the threat within the constraints of the California Constitution; and
WHEREAS, On May 17, 2020, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report stating that they are “very troubled” by the authority the Governor seeks to take away from the Legislature in the May Revision, and stated that “we urge the Legislature to jealously guard its constitutional role and authority”; and
WHEREAS, The California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code) (CESA) also provides local governments the ability to proclaim a local emergency in response to COVID-19, which authorizes the state to provide “mutual aid, including personnel, equipment, and other available resources, to assist political subdivisions during a local emergency or in accordance with mutual aid agreements or at the direction of the Governor”; and
WHEREAS, Nothing in this resolution prevents a local jurisdiction from proclaiming a local emergency to mitigate the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, On November 2, 2020, the Superior Court of the County of Sutter issued a tentative ruling in the case of Gallagher and Kiley v. Newsom (CVCS20-0912) that found all of the following: (1) The Governor’s Executive Order N-67-20, issued on June 3, 2020, which, among other things, required all Californians registered to vote in the November 3, 2020, General Election to receive vote-by-mail ballots and required all county elections officials to use the Secretary of State’s vote-by-mail ballot tracking system and Intelligent Mail Barcodes on all vote-by-mail ballot envelopes, was not authorized by the CESA because it improperly amended existing statutory law, exceeding the Governor’s authority and violating the separation of powers; (2) Executive Order N-67-20 was declared void and without further force or effect as an unconstitutional exercise of legislative power in that the CESA does not authorize or empower the Governor to amend or make statutory law; and (3) the Governor was enjoined and prohibited from exercising any power under the CESA that amends, alters, or changes existing statutory law or makes new statutory law or legislative policy. The final ruling was issued on November 13, 2020; and
WHEREAS, An open-ended state of emergency, with boundless powers vested in a chief executive, is incompatible with democratic government; and
WHEREAS, It is critical that a proper balance be restored between the legislative and executive branches; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, That the Legislature, in accordance with Section 8629 of the Government Code, declares that the state of emergency proclaimed by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 4, 2020, is at an end and that the emergency powers granted to the Governor as a result of that proclamation are hereby terminated; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the Governor of California.