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As virus cases wane, governors weigh ending emergency orders – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-06-12 10:48:57 –

New coronavirus infections and mortality in the United States have dropped dramatically from previous highs, but more contagious variants are widespread. Most people are now at least partially vaccinated, but prolonged hesitation can slow down and even waste some doses.

So is the COVID-19 emergency over or continuing?

This is a problem faced by residents and business owners in many states. The Governor decides whether to end or extend an emergency declaration that will allow rallies and businesses to be restricted, masks required, normal purchasing rules to be circumvented, and National Guard to be deployed to assist in vaccine management. To decide.

In many states, these urgent declarations are regularly extended by the governor every few weeks or months after the pandemic begins. But as things improve and state legislators press for a balance of power, it’s harder to make these decisions, and it’s harder to justify expansion.

Already, the governor, legislator, or judge has completed an emergency declaration in more than half a dozen states. This includes South Carolina and New Hampshire, and the Republican governor suspended an emergency order last week.

More people may soon join the list. About half of the states were set to expire their emergency orders by July 4. And more than 12 additional states have unrestricted emergency orders that can be revoked by the governor at any time.

Massachusetts was in an indefinite state of emergency for 15 months. But Governor Charlie Baker said it would end on Tuesday. He acknowledged the state’s high immunization rates by helping to change the course of the fight against the coronavirus.

“Unless something strange happens, it’s almost over,” Republican Baker said.

Coronavirus emergencies can also expire in Kansas and Vermont on Tuesday.

Top Republicans in Kansas, who need approval for the extension, hope to continue the state of emergency issued by Democratic Governor Laura Kelly until August, but have signaled that they will not.

Republican Governor of Vermont Phil Scott said 80% of eligible residents would end all remaining emergency restrictions once they had been vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 vaccine.

In many states, Republicans are leading the push to end the emergency declaration, but it’s not entirely partisan. Some Democrats have also supported such a move, and some Republican governors continue to make urgent declarations. This includes Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who extended the emergency declaration until July 4.

Democratic Governor David Ige recently updated his urgent declaration for another 60 days until August 6. Tourism-dependent countries that impose quarantine on travelers who effectively shut down the tourism industry are those with the lowest COVID per capita. -The 19-case rate and the highest unemployment rate since the pandemic began. Some may cite it as a reason to lift the state of emergency, but Ige said it was premature to do so.

“COVID-19 continues to jeopardize the health, security and well-being of Hawaiians,” Ige wrote, extending the emergency declaration.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom has terminated most coronavirus restrictions that come into effect on Tuesday, but continues his underlying urgent declaration. It may sound confusing to the population, but the move gives Newsom the power to suspend state law, impose new rules, and reinstate restrictions if coronavirus cases surge again. I will.

“The illness hasn’t gone away. The Democratic governor said, explaining the ongoing urgent declaration.

It is incompatible with the minority legislative Republicans. The state legislature has repeatedly tried to pass a resolution ending Newsom’s declaration, but cannot convince the majority of Democrats.

“California vaccination rates are high and COVID infection rates continue to decline,” said Republican Senator Melissa Melendez. “It’s time for the legislature to shake off the powerlessness that the governor has imposed on the government’s legislature and pass it.”

Nationally, the public health emergency declared by Secretary of Health and Welfare Xavier Becerra is scheduled to take place until July 20, but can be extended for an additional 90 days.

Within the past week, the Association of State and Territory Health Officials has received increasing inquiries from state officials about the potential consequences of revoking the emergency declaration, and the association’s senior director of health policy, Andy Baker- White says.

Much of the federal pandemic aid, such as President Joe Biden’s recent bailout package of $ 350 billion to state and local governments and a refund of vaccine distribution, could flow to the state even if the emergency declaration is terminated.

However, some federal aid can be affected. According to Congressional Research Service analysis, states are eligible for enhanced federal food aid benefits only if a COVID-19 emergency or disaster declaration is in place.

Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, said that for many governors, keeping an emergency declaration in place is more than canceling it and imposing it again later if the pandemic worsens. Said that there may be less confusion to the public.

But for other governors, he said it might be advantageous to give up their emergency authority.

“Frankly, if you don’t need them, you may want to get rid of them, with people worried that they might accuse you of misusing those authorities.” Said Benjamin.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who will be re-elected this year, ended the state’s public health emergency earlier this month as part of an arrangement with Democrats who control the state legislature. He also signed a law excluding more than 100 executive orders, holding just over 12 of them, including those that put evictions of peasants and closure of utilities in the moratorium.

Murphy called it “a clear and decisive step on the path to normality,” but some Republicans said it wasn’t advanced enough to limit his power.

In Pennsylvania, a Republican-led parliament voted Thursday to end the urgent declaration of Democratic Governor Tom Wolf. We took advantage of the new powers granted to lawmakers under a constitutional amendment approved by voters last month. However, lawmakers also voted to extend the hundreds of regulatory exemptions granted by the Wolf administration until September 30, so the immediate practical effect is limited.

The end of the urgent declaration could affect a variety of unobtrusive policies, including relaxation of license requirements in many states that allowed more health professionals to return to the workforce.

After Republican Governor of Oklahoma Kevin Stitt completed the May 4 emergency declaration, the state was on an online dashboard with available hospital beds and a stockpile of ventilators, masks and other personal protective equipment. The update has stopped. Revoking the state of emergency also triggered a 30-day countdown to resume face-to-face meetings for government agencies, ending the state agency’s ability to hire additional staff and shift resources.

Benjamin of the Public Health Association expects more states to end coronavirus emergency orders in the coming weeks due to improved infection and vaccination data and public fatigue over long-term precautions. Said that.

“I have an emotional or psychological message you’re sending. You’re saying’OK, we’re not in a state of emergency anymore,'” he said. “There is an opportunity to give people a normal feeling.”

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David A. Reeve reported from Jefferson City, Missouri. Associated Press writer John Hannah in Topeka, Kansas. Honolulu’s Audrey McAvoy. Sean Murphy of Oklahoma City; Wilson Ring of Stowe, Vermont contributed to this report.

As virus cases wane, governors weigh ending emergency orders Source link As virus cases wane, governors weigh ending emergency orders

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