Rhode Island’s governor should stop pretending we’re still in an emergency.
From nearly the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve argued that Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo abused her authority by declaring an emergency in order to give herself enhance powers.
The emergency provisions in Rhode Island law are meant to be used to manage a desperate circumstance in which there is no time to handle a situation through the appropriate channels, not for the ongoing management of a health crisis. There was plenty of time for the governor and General Assembly to follow constitutional processes that would have preserved our civil rights.
Unfortunately, Raimondo found it convenient to prove to Joe Biden that she would govern according to the national preferences of her party, and legislators found it convenient to avoid any responsibility for the handling of the pandemic.
House Minority Leader Blake Filippi is exactly right, as Tolly Taylor quotes him on WPRI:
“To regulate our private lives – including how we worship, how we exercise our First Amendment ability to associate – is offensive, and it should only be used in extreme circumstances,” Filippi said.
“You’ve got to remember: An executive order is essentially the governor writing a law instead of the general assembly passing one,” he said.
Filippi, the top House Republican in Rhode Island, said the issue of executive orders begs a larger question.
“Do we need to be in a state of emergency now?” Filippi asked. “I think the answer is clearly no.”
Governor McKee should end the charade and the state of emergency. I fear we’re going to find a much lower authority for enhanced government powers going forward. The longer this emergency declaration lasts, the lower the circumstances to which it is thought to apply, and the more lightly it will be imposed again in the future.
Featured image from Governor McKee’s official website.