As of last week, there are measures under consideration in both the House and Senate that would add checks to executive branch authority under declared emergencies by granting the Alabama Legislature the power to have input if it desired.
One proposal in the House, sponsored by State Rep. Becky Nordgren (R-Gadsden), would allow the legislature to call itself into session. Another bill, led by State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), would limit the length of a state of emergency and the state health officer’s power.
During an interview that aired on this week’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Gov. Kay Ivey dismissed those efforts and likened her role in a state of emergency to that of University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban making a gameday decision.
“The reason the executive branch has been given the authority to act in emergencies is because it is an emergency,” she said. “If Coach Saban has a decision to make on the football field, does he call all his assistant coaches, the trustees and the administration together? No. Coach makes a decision. Can you imagine trying to get 140 legislators who are not in town, who don’t work full-time back into session in order to adopt an emergency situation to make an emergency decision? It is quite evident that the three priority bills the legislature passed the first two weeks — those contained in my emergency declaration to tie them over so we wouldn’t miss a beat for economic development and protecting our businesses and assuring the tax preparers that the state would not be collecting, not one penny of tax from the CARES money.”
When asked about the proposals in the legislature, she suggested they might stymy the executive branch’s ability to act in an emergency.
“I know they’ve been introduced, and the legislature always likes to have their time and their say, and that’s fine — but in an emergency, you don’t need a herd of turtles gathering to make an emergency decision,” Ivey added.
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.