The Catastrophic Health Emergency Powers Act that Gov. Stitt activated last April was properly executed and served as a national model. But Stitt seems to be ignoring it, today. That act required a finding by the state legislature in special session. It automatically expired in 30 days and the governor did not seek an extension, as he had a right to seek.
The April 2020 process also empowered the state's Commissioner of Health to make emergency orders, subject to a legislative oversight panel, who advised the legislative leadership regarding any potential abuses of these enormous powers.
If the 900 or so illnesses from last April warranted a legitimate catastrophe action plan, then why not call the legislature into special session, now that 9000 illnesses are confirmed on a daily basis?
Why isn't the governor following the prescribed laws?
The Catastrophic Health Emergency Act §63-6101
Attorney Frank Urbanic was first to expose Gov. Stitt's abuse of state law when late last March he discovered that the governor was declaring a statewide riot, and invoking the Riot Control & Prevention Act to make himself a government of one, to make up new laws as he deemed advantageous to his goals. when that news was published by SoonerPolitics, the governor quickly changed course and properly called a Health Catastrophe, and included the legislature in the properly prescribed format to address special needs.
Since then the governor and legislature have grown extremely cold toward each other. the legislature cut the governor out of the annual budget process when they overrode his veto of their spending formula. The legislature rejected the governor's nominee for Commissioner of Health, citing the lack of an educational component in that nominee.
And the people are furious that the orders coming from the governor make such little sense. To shorten the hours of a business will mean a more densely populated venue. That flies in the face of those who seek to patronise business establishments in off-peak hours, when less people are crowding into a room.
So many people are also confused by the poor communication of the orders. Restaurants and taverns are only told to quit serving product after 11pm, but it's false to say the orders call for closing at the 11pm mark. Concerts can continue, dance floors can remain populated, but folks will likely just order up multiple rounds of food & drink for themselves and friends who are expected to arrive later. It this an error on the governor's team? It might be. But this is one of the reasons why a legislative oversight committee is a required part of an emergency health declaration. It doesn't mean the governor's motives are bad, they are just sometimes shortsighted and ill-informed.
We strongly encourage our readers to look through the state laws that were created many years ago, to guide us through scenarios like this one.