Months Into the Pandemic, Do Our Mayors and Governors Still Need Emergency Powers?

Commissioners John Strand, left, and Tony Gehrig listen to Desi Fleming of Fargo Cass Public Health talk about wearing masks to limit the spread of COVID-19 during the City Commission meeting Monday, July 27, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

MINOT, N.D. — Earlier this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic descended on us, various executive branch leaders like mayors and governors began to invoke executive powers so that they could make policy to deal with what was, at the time, an emergent situation.

The thing about emergency powers is that they’re supposed to be for emergencies — times when the usual process for making policy isn’t practical.

Is that still the case?

The pandemic has been with us for months. It’s less an emergency than a status quo. Our governing bodies like city commissions and legislatures have taken steps so that they can meet and do their jobs safely.

It’s time we put the emergency powers back in the box.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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