Representative Toth Files HJR 42 to Limit the Governor’s Disaster Act Powers

State Representative Steve Toth.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

The Woodlands, December 10 — Wednesday afternoon Representative Steve Toth (Republican, The Woodlands) announced the pre-filing of his constitutional amendment to require a special session of the Texas Legislature to determine if a governor can extend a state of emergency past 30 days.

“HJR 42 restores the balance of power that existed before the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 was exploited during Covid-19 to give the executive branch unprecedented power over small businesses,” said Representative Toth

“HJR 42 was filed to fix the catch-22 that exists in state law,” Toth explained. “The Texas Legislature can only terminate a state of disaster, and the executive orders that go with it, during a legislative session. The Texas Constitution schedules our sessions every two years, and only the governor can call a special session. Here’s the problem: if you don’t like the governor’s Covid-19 orders, I have to wait until January of the next odd-numbered year to stop them. The governor isn’t going to call a special session for me to stop his orders before then. And judges won’t give me standing to use the courts to stop the governor because, again, the Legislature is not in session. I know; I’ve tried.”

HRJ 42 would require a governor to call the Texas Legislature into session to extend a state of emergency past 30 days. This would allow a governor 30 days to quickly respond to natural disasters like hurricanes, but ensure citizens are directly represented when long-term emergency declarations and their long-term effects are being considered.

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