May 2, 2020
President Troy Jackson 3 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333
Speaker Sara Gideon 2 State House Station August, ME 04333
Dear President Jackson and Speaker Gideon,
We write to ask that you call the Legislature back in to session under Maine Constitution Article IV Part III Section 1 for the express and limited purpose of ending the Governor’s “Proclamation of State of Civil Emergency to Further Protect Public Health” through an emergency joint resolution pursuant to MRSA Title 37B chapter 13 subchapter 2 section 743 part 2.
The successful management of any emergency declared by the Executive is dependent upon keeping the Legislature informed of the decision making process. The delegation of authority to a single decision maker in a time of emergency is necessary to ensure swift action; however, if that decision making authority is used without consultation with the legislative body, it is our obligation to rescind that authority and establish a new process working with the Governor that involves all parties to better serve Maine.
Unfortunately in recent weeks, concerns raised by the Legislature to the Governor have been met with disregard and even contempt.
We have repeatedly asked for accommodation from the Governor to allow her Commissioners to directly answer questions from members of the Maine Legislature and have been refused.
We have asked for additional data to be released from the CDC, data that is regularly provided in other states, and is essential in determining the state of the disease in Maine. This data is necessary for setting public policy, and to date it has not been provided to us.
We have asked for a set of guiding principles that are being used to determine which businesses can open. To date, we have not received any such information. What we have been given is a phased-in plan that seemingly picks winners and losers. It imposes an arbitrary set of rules for our businesses with no information on the scientific data used to create them.
We have asked what is being done to increase and improve testing while we learn of private testing companies in Maine closing testing sites for a lack of business. We have received no answers.
It is for these reasons and others not listed here, that it has become necessary for the Legislature to return and end the emergency proclamation. If the Governor refuses to share the information necessary to keep us informed of how she is making decisions of her own accord, we are left with no choice but to convene and demand she answer our questions with the full force of Legislative authority.
Senator Dana Dow Representative Kathleen Dillingham Senate Republican Leader House Republican Leader
Senator Jeff Timberlake Representative Harold “Trey” Stewart Assistant Senate Republican Leader Assistant House Republican Leader