Utah there is a light at the end of this long tunnel. This is a group effort, joint resolution. We need 38 House reps and 15 Senators to enact it. send this to everyone you know, share this and download the Utah-Legislature contact pdf and contact your representatives. No new normal, just normal, your voice still matters, let them hear from you! #justnormalutah.
Here is a list of legislators who have signed, green is who have, red is who have not updated 10/8/20. Everyone in red need to hear from you!
Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
WHEREAS, on March 6th 2020, and pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 53-2a-206, the Governor of the State of Utah declared a statewide state of emergency arising from the arrival in Utah of the contagious disease known as 2019 novel coronavirus or COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, at that time the overriding concern was to slow the spread of the disease so as not to overwhelm the capacity and resources of the medical system in Utah; and
WHEREAS, on June 18, 2020, during the 5th Special Session of the 63rd Legislature, the legislature voted to extend the state of emergency per Utah Code Ann. 53-2a-206(3) until August 20th, 2020; and
WHEREAS, upon the expiration of the state of emergency on August 20th, 2020, the Governor immediately declared another state of emergency for the same disaster; and
WHEREAS, upon the expiration of this new state of emergency on September 19, 2020, the Governor issued yet another executive order declaring a state of emergency for the same disaster; and
WHEREAS, the provisions of Utah Code Ann. 53-2a-206(3)–(4) state that “A state of emergency may not continue for longer than 30 days unless extended by joint resolution of the Legislature, which may also terminate a state of emergency by joint resolution at any time.” Thereupon, “the governor shall issue an executive order ending the state of emergency on receipt of the Legislature’s resolution”; and
WHEREAS, Utah Code Ann. 53-2a-206 does not grant the Governor authority to renew an emergency or issue a new declaration of the same emergency; and
WHEREAS, the Emergency Management Act of the state of Utah grants the Executive Branch and Governor broad powers otherwise reserved to the Legislature to modify or suspend statutes in urgent cases that arise due to emergency conditions that prevent the Legislature being convened in special sessions and was not designed nor intended to keep the state and it’s people in a perpetual “state of emergency”, threatening the careful balance of government and separation of powers established by our constitution; and
WHEREAS, the Utah Constitution Article V, Section 1 states, “The powers of the government of the State of Utah shall be divided into three distinct departments, the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial; and no person charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of those departments, shall exercise any functions appertaining to either of the others, except in the cases herein expressly directed or permitted;” and
WHEREAS, the separation of powers is one of the most fundamental principles of our government; and
WHEREAS, speaking on the importance of auxiliary precautions built into our constitution, and specifically, the separation of powers, James Madison states in Federalist 51 that “It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices [checks and balances] should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”; and
WHEREAS, the legislature has demonstrated via multiple special sessions its capability of assembling to perform urgent policy-making duties during the COVID-19 pandemic, effectively eliminating any need for the governor to exercise emergency powers; and
WHEREAS, during the pandemic the governor has used emergency powers normally reserved for the legislature to execute non-urgent policy decisions; and
WHEREAS, the Stafford Act, which authorizes the delivery of federal technical, financial, logistical, and other assistance to states and localities, does not require a state to be under a declared state of emergency in order to receive federal funds or assistance; and
WHEREAS, the Utah Constitution establishes that the legislative authority of the state is vested in the legislative branch of government and when the governor acts under a state of emergency the citizens of the state of Utah lose their voice through their elected officials in the state legislature to make law; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to the Utah Constitution and Utah Code Ann. 53-2a-206(3) the legislature may call itself together to pass a resolution, jointly, to extend or end a state of emergency and that once the legislature has decided to end a state of emergency declaration of the executive, by joint resolution, the executive branch has no right, or authority, to declare another state of emergency for the same disaster without the express consent of the legislature.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the members of the Utah House of Representatives and the Utah Senate concurring herein, the state of emergency declaration related to COVID-19, issued by the governor on September 19th, 2020, is declared to be terminated as of the date of passage of this joint resolution; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature informs the Governor the he may not lawfully issue subsequent emergency declarations or orders related to COVID-19; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this joint resolution shall be transmitted immediately upon passage to the Governor of the State of Utah.
Drafted by Kim Coleman