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New Resolution to Terminate California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Emergency Powers

Assemblymen Kiley and Gallagher take issue with Newsom’s 39 Executive Orders, unilaterally changing 200 laws

‘This Resolution is meant to restore a proper balance between the legislative and executive branches.’

Monday an Oregon judge declared “null and void” the pandemic-related emergency lockdown orders of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in response to a lawsuit filed by churches and residents challenging the state shutdown, the Washington Times reported. Gov. Brown, a member of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 5-state compact to leverage money from the federal government, had doubled down and extended her lockdown order through July. Baker County Circuit Court Judge Matthew B. Shirtcliff said in a seven-page decision that Ms. Brown’s executive orders, including her “Stay at Home and Save Lives” and “Closure of Certain Businesses” shutdowns, exceeded the 28-day legislative time limits. “Once the maximum 28-day period is exceeded, the governor’s executive orders and all subsequent orders were rendered null and void,” he said in his seven-page ruling.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Two California lawmakers aren’t waiting for a California judge to strike down Gov. Gavin Newsom’s lockdown orders. “Since proclaiming a State of Emergency on March 4, Governor Newsom has issued 39 Executive Orders, unilaterally changing 200 laws spanning most sections of the California code,” Assemblymen Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) and James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) said in a press statement about their new Resolution to terminate the Governor’s emergency powers. “This includes creating new voting laws for an election six months away and overhauling Workers’ Compensation rules.”

Under Section 8629 of the California Emergency Services Act, the Legislature has authority to terminate the Governor’s emergency powers. Assembly members Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) and James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) are introducing an Assembly Concurrent Resolution to exercise this statutory prerogative.

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 State Constitution, Kiley and Gallagher wrote.

“This Resolution is meant to restore a proper balance between the legislative and executive branches,” said Assemblyman Kiley. “To the extent the Governor retains extraordinary powers, they should be limited in scope in coordination with the Legislature, which has authority to terminate those powers altogether.”

“We must take action to restore representative, constitutional government,” Assemblyman Gallagher said. “The Governor has clearly overstepped his authority, from arbitrarily changing state laws, to using state agencies to threaten small business outside of their legal jurisdiction, to spending money outside the scope of legislative authorization. It is incumbent upon the Legislature to restore the balance of powers.”

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst, in a report Sunday on the Governor’s May Revision, was “very troubled” by the authority the Governor seeks to take away from the Legislature. The report concludes: “we urge the Legislature to jealously guard its constitutional role and authority.”

“The Emergency Services Act was designed to grant extraordinary powers to a Governor under conditions of extreme peril,” Assemblyman Kiley said. “It was not meant to give a single person the ability to remake all of California law indefinitely. An open-ended state of emergency, with boundless powers vested in a chief executive, is incompatible with democratic government.”

Gov. Newsom is facing 11 lawsuits for overstepping his Constitutional authority:

  • The CAGOP filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court asking Governor Newsom to prohibit ballot harvesting ahead of the May 12 Special Elections in Congressional District 25 and State Senate District 28.

  • The Center for American Liberty in coordination with the Law Office of D. Gill Sperlein and the Dhillon Law Group, sued California Governor Gavin Newsom, AG Becerra, and other state officials for depriving plaintiffs of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights when Capitol protest permits were denied.

  • The Center for American Liberty, again in coordination with the Dhillon Law Group, filed a First Amendment lawsuitagainst Governor Gavin Newsom, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and named San Bernardino county supervisors, Riverside County supervisors, county sheriffs, and county health officers, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, for criminalizing the free exercise of religion.

  • California Salon Owners and Barbers Sue Gov. Newsom Over the Right to Earn a Living: New federal lawsuit challenges Gov. Newsom’s ‘vague’ lockdown orders, threat of professional license revocations.

  • A lawsuit filed in federal court in April challenges the authority of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the state’s public health officials and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to decide which businesses are “essential” and “non-essential” with regard to business closure orders and the state-imposed lockdown over the coronavirus scare.

There are six more lawsuits, all available at

Katy Grimes

Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California's War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?

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