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Lawmakers Consider Proposals To Limit N.H. Governor's Emergency Powers

Photo of Sununu speaking at microphone
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A week after voting to lift sanctions and reverse fines for businesses that flout state COVID guidance, the New Hampshire House is considering more bills aimed at undercutting the governor's emergency powers.

Two House committees took testimony on nine separate pandemic inspired bills Monday.  The Republican-sponsored proposals include measures aiming to terminate the state of emergency prompted by the coronavirus. Another proposal would limit the governor's power to compel citizen evacuations during emergencies, and several measures would require a governor to win approval from the Legislature or Executive Council to extend or renew a state of emergency. 

Rep. Melissa Blasek of Merrimack said the governor's powers spelled out in current law and affirmed by the courts need to be checked.

"All of the bills that are going in this year to deal with the state of emergency laws with are intended to rein in some of that unlimited authority,” she said.

Gov. Chris Sununu sharply criticized the GOP-led House last week for voting to reverse sanctions against businesses that have violated COVID-guidelines.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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