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AG: Ducey Could Declare New State Of Emergency If Lawmakers End The Current One

Published: Friday, February 19, 2021 - 6:27pm
Updated: Friday, February 19, 2021 - 6:30pm

A push by some Republicans to end the public health emergency Gov. Doug Ducey declared nearly a year ago is going nowhere fast.

But even if it did, it wouldn’t stop Ducey from quickly declaring another one, according to Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

Brnovich’s opinion is part of a response to a series of questions about gubernatorial authority and the Legislature’s role during a state of emergency. Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) has warned his fellow lawmakers that ending the current emergency order may not be the final word on the matter.

Brnovich’s opinion confirms as much.

“The governor’s ability to declare a state of emergency is not impacted by a legislative termination of a prior state of emergency,” the attorney general wrote.

Put another way, “the governor is not legally restricted from declaring a new state of emergency” as soon as lawmakers end the current one, Brnovich added. In doing so, the governor would re-obtain all the powers lawmakers tried to strip from him.

Lawmakers would then have the option of passing yet another resolution to end the new state of emergency.

The only other ways to end an emergency order would be for a judge to rule that certain emergency conditions as prescribed by law weren’t met, or for the governor himself to terminate it.

The matter may be moot anyway, given that at least one Republican senator has said he won’t vote for the resolution.

Sen. T.J. Shope (R-Coolidge) confirmed he’s opposed. So are all the Democrats in the Senate. That leaves Republicans one vote short of the 16 votes needed to approve a resolution.