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House GOP Leader Submits Bill To Curb Governor's Emergency Powers

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House Republican leader Kathleen Dillingham of Oxford believes that the Legislature should have more oversight of the governor’s emergency powers, and has submitted a bill she says would make that happen.

Dillingham’s measure would limit the governor’s emergency declarations to just one 30-day period. And any renewal of that declaration would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

She says current law gives lawmakers no say in such decisions.

“There isn’t an avenue to ensure that the Legislature is involved in the process. There is nothing there,” Dillingham says.

She says Gov. Janet Mills has had too much control over the state’s pandemic response.

“It’s not just legislators that are looking for this to be addressed, it’s the public. And they feel that their hands are tied, and they have no recourse to have their voices heard,” Dillingham says.

Mills’ office declined to comment on the proposal. Similar legislation is being considered in 27 states.

Correction: An earlier headline said the bill was submitted to curb Gov. Janet Mills' emergency powers. If passed, the bill would not take effect until after Mills' first term.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.