By Corinne Murdock |
On Wednesday, the Arizona House approved a Senate bill to repeal the governor’s current executive powers in public health emergencies.
Instead, SB1009 would ensure governors only have the authority to issue a state of emergency for public health emergencies for 30 days. After that, the governor would be limited to extending that state of emergency for 30 days at a time with a limit of 120 days or about four months. Once that time is exhausted, the state legislature must consent to any new state of emergency.
The governor wouldn’t be able to extend the state of emergency more than once without additional reporting requirements. After 60 days of an emergency, the governor must submit a written report to a joint committee of the Senate and House health committees. That committee will assess the report along with a Arizona Department of Health Services briefing and publish a public review of the extension.
SB1009 also empowers the state legislature to extend the state of an emergency for public health emergencies as well. Those extensions would be limited to 30 days, too.
The bill passed along party lines. It now heads to Governor Doug Ducey for final approval.
Ducey only ended the COVID-19 state of emergency at the end of last month: well over two years after the initial state of emergency was issued.
This legislative session covered other changes to Arizona’s state of emergency protocol. Ducey signed HB2507 on Monday, ensuring that religious services would be considered essential during a state of emergency. Over the last two years, other state governments forced the closure of religious buildings and worship gatherings, punishing those who dared to defy their public health orders in order to exercise their religious freedoms.