Orange County BOE to Governor Newsom: End of State of Emergency
The Orange County Board of Education, at its regular September meeting, approved sending a letter to Governor Newsom requesting that he announce an end to the state of emergency due to COVID-19 that he declared nearly a year and a half ago. This action is legally required by the California Emergency Services Act, which requires that the Governor end a state of emergency at the earliest moment conditions warrant, and it is long overdue. While the virus remains something to be taken and dealt with seriously, the emergency suspension of normal government functioning can no longer be justified.
Through the improper extension of the state of emergency long after the Governor himself has admitted that emergency conditions are over, the Governor has continued to issue statewide rules and edicts that that usually would require a legislative or public administrative process. Some of these rules, such as mandatory child masking requirements, directly affect the emotional and educational well-being of Orange County’s children.
To address this unconstitutional arrogation and exercise of authority in violation of separation of powers and the representative nature of our governmental system, the Board along with other parties filed a petition with the California Supreme Court requesting a writ of mandate requiring the Governor’s compliance with the Emergency Services Act. On August 18, 2021, the Supreme Court exercised its discretion not to invoke original jurisdiction over the petition. This was not a decision on the merits, and the Board is free to proceed with its claims in the Superior Court.
In an effort to avoid further litigation, the Board is requesting informally by letter that the Governor announce an end to the state of emergency by September 13, 2021. It is the Board’s hope that the Governor will do the right thing and return California to a normal state of governance.
The Board remains committed to the rule of law and to the protection of the students of Orange County. Accordingly, if the Governor refuses to comply with the Emergency Services Act and insists on retaining emergency powers indefinitely and when the state of emergency is clearly over, the Board will proceed with its claims. As before, the Board expects that the litigation will be handled by legal counsel of record in the case on a pro bono basis.
About the Orange County Board of Education: The Orange County Board of Education consists of five lay members who represent the five trustee areas of the Orange County. Board members are elected for a four-year term by the electors of the trustee area which they represent. From among its members, the Board elects a president, vice president and a board clerk. The Board has as its ex officio secretary and executive officer the Orange County Superintendent of Schools, who is publicly elected for a four-year term.
The Board and Superintendent, as co-governing entities of the county office of education, provide educational opportunities and support for Orange County students, promote student achievement, and offer leadership, services, and resources for Orange County school districts, educators, and the community. For more information, visit OCDE.
About Tyler & Bursch, LLP (www.tylerbursch.com): With offices in Murrieta and Irvine CA, Tyler & Bursch’s attorneys have been litigating civil liberties cases for more than 25 years in federal and state court. Tyler & Bursch provides pro-bono legal support through the non-profit legal organization, Advocates for Faith & Freedom (www.faith-freedom.com).