Two Sussex legislators roll out bill that would limit extension of emergency powers

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Two Sussex County Republican legislators have introduced legislation aimed at limiting the governor’s power in issuing emergency declarations.

State Sen. Bryant Richardson and Rep. Richard Collins introduced House Bill 330 which reins in the governor’s authority to continue a state of emergency by requiring the General Assembly to adopt and set the time period for continuing the state of emergency.

Gov. John Carney can now order the state of emergency for 30 days and has the power to extend the declaration in 30-day increments.

According to the bill, if the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Senate agree that it is not reasonably possible for the General Assembly to conduct a meeting and the governor determines that it is necessary to continue the state of emergency, then the governor continue the state of emergency without the approval of the General Assembly, the bill states.

The bill may be largely symbolic since Democrats control both houses and have supported the declaration.

The General Assembly is out of session after Carney made the emergency declaration.

Republicans have been muted in their comments about the emergency declaration. However, groups are planning demonstrations this week that oppose the current order, with some claiming the governor’s actions are unconstitutional.

In addition, a number of states are allowing some businesses to reopen.

Sussex County is currently seeing a coronavirus outbreak in the Georgetown area, with the less populated county seeing more cases than more heavily populated New Castle County.

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