Senator Paul Davis says that it is time Governor Mills began working with the Legislature and making decisions about COVID-19 based on science.
Good afternoon. It is time for Governor Mills to stop ignoring the State Legislature.
Hello, I am State Senator Paul Davis of District 4 which is all of Piscataquis and parts of Somerset and Penobscot.
As most people are aware, our government is purposefully divided into three separate branches so that each can provide a checks and balance system against the other two. No one branch should dominate government to the exclusion of the others.
Sadly, Maine’s governor has chosen to do differently. She simply ignores the constitutional role of the Legislative Branch, acting as if only the Executive Branch has any authority to make decisions.
Now that the Legislature has returned to Augusta, the Governor must recognize and acknowledge the equal stature of the Legislative Branch in making state law and policy.
Senate Republicans represent a half million Maine citizens who deserve to have their voices heard and may even have some valuable input from which the Governor might possibly benefit.
Recently, for example, the Governor imposed a curfew on restaurants beginning at 9:00pm. In a public statement, we asked what science the Governor had relied on in developing her new Executive Order.
When asked by a reporter if there was any science behind her decision, she admitted she had not consulted any academic journal or other scholarly sources.
Instead, her scientific source was this:
(Governor Mills) “There’s a tendency…Look, I’ve lived here most of my life, I mean, there is that tendency to go out in the evening and you kind of let down your guard…”
In agreeing with Governor Mills’ comments, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah also failed to cite a single piece of scientific data that informed this decision.
Despite the suffering and the hard times Maine people have had caused by numerous actions taken by state government over the last several months, Maine went from being among the states with the lowest rate of infection to the highest in the nation.
Nearly every day we set another record for the number of people who have been infected.
Had she sought the help and advice of the many business owners in the Legislature, Governor Mills might have crafted policies that not only improved our response to COVID-19 but had a less damaging effect on Maine’s economy.
We might also have shared with her the result of similar actions in other states recently that have failed to slow the growth of the virus.
Here, for example, is what happened in North Carolina and Ohio immediately following similar orders that recently required businesses to act as law enforcement.
The huge spike immediately following each, demonstrates that this policy did nothing to slow the rate of infection, and the fear, anger, and unease that it created was something Maine should not have duplicated.
The Legislature is again in session and will remain so for many months. There is no longer any reason for the Governor to ignore this co-equal branch of government, or for the Legislature to continue to abdicate its constitutional powers to the Executive Branch in the name of a health emergency.
Our doors are open, our phones are receiving calls, and we stand ready to work collaboratively with Governor Mills to plot the best course for Maine going forward.
Again, I am Senator Paul Davis of District 4.
Be well take care and God bless.