Five states have active COVID-19 emergency orders

Welcome to the Wednesday, March 1, Brew. 

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. California ends COVID-19 emergency, leaving five states with active orders
  2. Governors issued 14 executive orders from Feb. 13-19 
  3. Intern with us!

California ends COVID-19 emergency, leaving five states with active orders

Happy March! 

On Feb. 28, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ended the statewide COVID-19 emergency order—1,091 days after issuing it on March 4, 2020. At the beginning of the pandemic, all 50 governors declared emergencies. These orders allowed officials to access resources unavailable to them during non-emergencies, such as stockpiles of medical goods and equipment, and authority to temporarily waive or suspend certain rules and regulations. Statewide emergency orders were also the basis of stay-at-home orders. 

Throughout 2021 and 2022, most states ended their COVID-19 emergencies. As of this writing, five states have active emergencies:

  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas

With the exception of Texas, the remaining states with emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic are Democratic trifectas, meaning Democrats control the governor’s office and both chambers of the legislature. New Mexico’s emergency will end on March 3, while Rhode Island’s is scheduled to end March 11. 

In Connecticut and Illinois, the emergencies are scheduled to end on May 11, when President Joe Biden (D) is scheduled to end the federal COVID-19 emergencies. The White House, under President Donald Trump (R), declared a public health emergency on Jan. 31, 2020, and a national emergency on March 14, 2020. 

Texas has a Republican trifecta. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has not said when he will end the emergency. On Jan. 26, Abbott said: “I’m going to keep that in place until the legislators codify my executive orders that ban mask mandates, that ban forced vaccines and things like that.”

Some governors ended their original emergency orders and later reinstated them, including those in Alabama, Delaware, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. 

In Michigan and Wisconsin, the state supreme court ended statewide COVID-19 emergencies. On Oct. 5, 2020, Michigan’s emergency ended when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) lacked the authority to issue and extend emergency and disaster declarations after the Legislature declined to extend those orders earlier that spring. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ended the statewide emergency on March 31, 2021, ruling 4-3 that Gov. Tony Evers (D) overstepped his authority when he declared several states of emergency since the start of the pandemic without legislative input.

To read more about COVID-19 emergencies, click the link below. 

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Governors issued 14 executive orders from Feb. 13-19 

Speaking of gubernatorial executive orders, let’s take a look at some recent, non-COVID ones. 

Nationally, governors issued 14 executive orders from Feb. 13-19. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) led with five, followed by Delaware Gov. John Carney Jr. (D) with two. Governors in 41 states issued no orders in that time. 

Governors use executive orders to manage executive branch operations. The week’s executive orders account for 6% of the year-to-date total of 251. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leads with 76 orders issued since Jan. 1, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) with 34 and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) with 18.  

Georgia and Florida lead in the number of executive orders issued for two reasons: unlike most states, in Georgia, the governor uses executive orders to appoint and reappoint members of state boards and judges. In Florida, also unlike most states, the governor uses executive orders for state attorney executive assignments. 

Governors in 25 states have issued fewer than five orders since the start of the year, and those in 17 states have not issued any orders so far. In states with a Republican trifecta, governors issued 167 orders, while governors in states with a Democratic trifecta issued 54. In states where neither party holds trifecta control, governors issued 30 orders.

Click below to read more about recent gubernatorial executive orders. 

Keep reading 

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