It’s time once again for our Statist of the Week. I’m recording this week’s episode early, but there’s really no contest for this week’s champion of big government. Nope. Not even close. This week’s winner is … none other than Governor Brad Little … and friends! Yes, friends. We’ll get to the friends in a minute. But first …
Gov. Little vetoed Senate Bill 1136 and House Bill 135, two bills that would have limited his power and the power of future governors in the event of a future declared emergency. Broken down in their simplest terms, the bills would have limited the duration of a declared state of emergency so that the governor could not just declare an emergency over and over again without involving your elected senators and representatives.
The bills would also prevent the governor from doing what he did last year – limiting the right of assembly and the freedom of religion. The bills would have also prevented the governor from using an emergency order to declare some jobs essential and others nonessential, as he did last year.
Now, Gov. Little’s veto of SB 1136 would have been overturned were it not for Senators Patti Anne Lodge, Jim Patrick, Jim Guthrie, Fred Martin, and Jim Woodward. They voted for the bill the first time around, but after the veto, the five senators switched sides and joined the Senate’s liberal Democrats to successfully oppose overriding the governor’s veto. I suspect they’ll do the same with HB 135, but we shall see. Either way, they’re also Statists of the Week for upholding the governor’s veto.
Gov. Little’s action – and Sens. Lodge, Patrick, Guthrie, Martin, and Woodward’s decision to uphold the veto – means that some future governor, or even the one we have now, can shut down the state’s economy at any point in the future for any reason. He can declare some people essential and others unessential. He can tell people they can’t go to work, school, orchurch or peaceably assemble for whatever reason he might choose. He can rule over us with impunity.
This is the power that is befitting a king, not a governor of a state in a free country. The governor’s veto leaves him with the power of a dictator. The Senate’s failure to override the bill protects that power.
And that’s why Gov. Little, and Sens. Patti Anne Lodge, Jim Patrick, Jim Guthrie, Fred Martin, and Jim Woodward are our Statists of the Week.
It’s going to be hard to top this one, but who will be next week’s Statist of the Week? Drop me a note with your nominations. [email protected]. We’ll talk to you again soon.