Limits Emergency Declarations and Orders to 30 Days and Requires Legislative Approval to ExtendRe
Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Today, on the 1,000th day of Texas’s COVID-19 Emergency Disaster Declaration, Representative Brian Harrison filed the “Liberty Protection in Emergencies Act,” House Bill 911, which ensures that any exercise of emergency powers is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling public health or safety purpose and requires the order to expire unless the legislature ratifies it within 30 days.
Statement by Representative Brian
“Never ending emergency powers are antithetical to representative government and render people powerless. 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'" said Harrison.
"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.”
Since the start of COVID-19, states and localities across America have abused emergency powers and deprived citizens of freedom and liberties by issuing executive orders, which carry the full force and effect of law, yet were never voted on by their elected representatives. This fundamentally alters the relationship of the individual to the state and makes a mockery out of the principle of governing only by the “consent of the governed.”
HB 911 returns this power to the people, through their elected representatives in the legislature, while still allowing the governor authority to respond quickly to emergencies requiring immediate action.
Key Provisions of the Bill:
- Requires emergency orders to be narrowly tailored.
- Subjects emergency orders to expedited judicial review.
- Ensures that only the governor can issue an emergency order that infringes constitutional rights.
- Sunsets emergency orders in 30 days if the legislature does not ratify the order.
- Allows remote participation for legislators to debate and vote on emergency orders.
- Prohibits the governor from reissuing emergency orders that expired or the legislature rejected.
- Prohibits the governor from suspending or modifying statutes.
Prior to being elected to the Texas Legislature, Representative Brian Harrison served as Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) during the first year of the COVID pandemic. HHS oversees the nation’s health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Food & Drug Administration, and the National Institutes for Health.