More than 300 New Hampshire residents have filed a formal request asking the Legislature to repeal the powers granted to the governor during an emergency such as the coronavirus pandemic.
The remonstrance received by the House clerk on Thursday argues that the law granting the governor emergency management powers is unconstitutional, though it has been upheld in court.
“The experience and feeling of your Memorialists too dearly prove that some ruinous exercise of undelegated powers of issuing emergency orders and public policy guidelines enforced as law has been lately adopted in New Hampshire,” the group wrote. “Such acts could have been devised to bring the good people of this State into the deepest distress.”
Several lawmakers have filed bills limiting the governor’s powers. One would require the governor to explain the conditions necessary to extend a state of emergency and would require approval of the Legislature or Executive Council for renewal. Another would allow the Legislature to terminate any emergency order or part of an order, while a third would require legislative approval of any order issued during the renewal of a state of emergency.
Polls have shown Republican Gov. Chris Sununu enjoying bipartisan support for his handling of the pandemic, and he easily won reelection to a third term in November. He has faced opposition from members of his own party, as well as protests outside his home from people who disagree with the restrictions.