The past two years have been extremely tough for more than 300 million Americans. First, a largely unknown virus swept the nation. Then, government response made things worse with mandatory stay-at-home-orders, arbitrary business closures, and virtual schooling, all based on just about everything but actual science—or common sense.
The important lesson, though, is not why elected leaders kept people and businesses under their thumbs for so long, but how. Most of this authority derived from emergency powers usually reserved for immediate crises that cannot wait for the slower pace of legislative action.
Unfortunately, the emergency presented by COVID-19 proved too great a temptation at all levels of government to wield nearly unlimited, unilateral powers long after their expiration dates—if such dates existed at all. As society returns to relative normalcy, we must not lose sight of the damage caused under the guise of protecting public health, and ensure it never happens again.
Please join Pacific Legal Foundation on March 24 for a briefing on emergency powers abuses and concrete policy solutions for reform. Our virtual event will detail our work defending small businesses against arbitrary shutdown orders, as well as effective emergency powers reforms and model legislation that every state can use.