As Texas marks the 1,000th day of the COVID emergency first issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in March of 2020, a lawmaker in the Texas House has filed legislation pushing back on executive overreach.
On Thursday, State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Waxahachie) filed the “Liberty Protection in Emergencies Act,” House Bill 911, which is designed to prevent perpetual emergency orders and return power to the people through their elected representatives in the state Legislature.
“Never ending emergency powers are antithetical to representative government and render people powerless,” said Harrison. “Having helped coordinate the federal COVID Public Health Emergency, it is past time to end all COVID-related emergency declarations. Biden is destroying America through executive actions, and Texas must lead by example in protecting individual liberties, even during emergencies.”
The bill would require emergency orders to be narrowly tailored and subject to expedited judicial review. It would also sunset orders after 30 days if the Legislature does not give their approval, and prevent the governor from reissuing expired or rejected orders.
“Legislative bodies allowing a single executive branch official to both write and enforce laws is the biggest threat to our constitutional system of divided government and should be opposed irrespective of which political party runs the executive branch,” Harrison added.
Texas is currently one of just 11 states that currently is in a COVID state of emergency. Gov. Abbott renewed the order on November 18, saying COVID “poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas.”