Sen. Melendez Pushes New Bill to Establish Limits for CA State of Emergency Orders

Senator Melissa Melendez (R -Lake Elsinore), introduced Senate Bill 448 today, to build on the need to restore the Legislature’s constitutional oversight role during state-of-emergencies.

“We’ve already seen what a Governor can do when his executive authority goes unchecked,” said Melendez. “If the Legislature won’t act to end the state-of-emergency by passing SCR 5 and return response efforts to the locals where they belong, then we must change the rules a future Governor may follow when exerting their authority.”

Senate Bill (SB) 448 enacts the Emergency Powers Limitation Act, which requires any future emergency order to be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling public health or safety purpose and limited in duration, applicability, and scope. It would further prohibit a state agency from issuing an emergency order that infringes on an express constitutional right and would require that an emergency order issued by the Governor that infringes on an express constitutional right expire within a specified time period. As previously announced, Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 (SCR 5) aims to end the State of Emergency, restore checks and balances between the Legislative and Executive branches and allow local governments to handle the pandemic locally instead of top-down mandates from the state.

“It’s been a year since Governor Newsom declared a state-of-emergency for the state of California,” said Melendez. “Since that day, thousands of businesses have permanently closed their doors; millions of Californians have lost their jobs and are on unemployment; EDD has doled out billions of dollars in fraudulent claims; and shuttered schools have tarnished the educational experience for California children. It’s time we take this unilateral control away from the Governor for good because Californians have had enough!”