Legislator Plans to Introduce Bill to Limit Power in Pandemics
Former Montana Speaker of the House and current State Senate candidate Greg Hertz said on Friday that the actions taken by Governor Bullock and county health officers may have gone too far in proportion to the COVID 19 virus’ effect on the state.
“The legislative branch over decades has given the governor and some health officials authority to act in a pandemic situation,” said Hertz. “I don’t think the legislature ever realized that something like this would happen. As we move forward, and I will be serving as a state senator, I will be introducing bills to pull back some of that authority. There needs to be oversight over the governor. The governor can’t just make these mandates and directives without some oversight.”
(Hertz is a Republican candidate for the State Senate in District 6)
Hertz said other states already have a system of checks and balances when it comes to the governor’s power during such an emergency.
“In some states, the legislature has retained some oversight where they have a special select committee that looks at the governor’s directives, and they can actually veto a governor’s directives,” he said. “That makes the governor work a little more closely, and when it comes to these local health officials in the county, I believe the county commissioners who are elected should have some sort of veto power and review of these health directives that have been issued by these county health officers.”
In Missoula County, the health officer introduced more restrictive policies that the governor regarding which businesses and professions would be allowed to open on Monday, May 4.