After more than 800 days, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s declaration of a COVID-19 state of emergency remains in effect. Although Gov. Newsom has dropped most of the restrictions he unilaterally imposed under this emergency, he retains the power to reimpose lockdowns and other highly coercive measures without legislative intervention. The time has come to both end the COVID-19 state of emergency and to reconsider the ability of this or any future California governor to exercise emergency powers indefinitely.
Newsom has employed powers given to the governor under the 1970 California Emergency Services Act—a bipartisan measure signed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan. As