Republican-controlled legislatures are increasingly trying to strip Democratic governors of their executive authority to close businesses and schools, a power grab by lawmakers that channels frustration over the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic but could come with long-term consequences for how their states fight disease.
The efforts to undermine Democratic governors who invoked stay-at-home orders are most pronounced in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all three of which have divided government and are key to President Donald Trump’s path to reelection. Democratic governors there face lawsuits, legislation and other moves by Republicans trying to seize control of the response to the virus. All three states have also been hotbeds of right-wing protest pushing for a faster reopening.
The GOP lawmakers’ strategy echoes earlier attempts in some states to curb the powers of Democratic governors. But this round comes with added health and political risk. By pressing for a faster reopening and seeking to override their governors, Republicans are betting that Americans are ready to restart economic activity — even if that risks steady infection rates and death in the months leading to the November election.
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The moves come despite a recent survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that found a wide share of Americans say they are in favour of requiring people to stay at home,