AUGUSTA – Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, released the following statement in response to a letter from Legislative Republicans calling for the Legislature to strip Gov. Janet T. Mills of emergency powers, which would jeopardize federal COVID-19 funding, limit the state’s ability to procure testing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), and leave essential workers without the support they need.
“In response to Maine’s first case of COVID-19, the Legislature moved quickly to provide the governor with the emergency powers necessary to respond to the public health crisis and save lives. These powers allow the state to secure critical testing supplies, procure personal protective equipment and access emergency funding for our hospitals when we need it most. Removing these powers would have devastating consequences for the people of Maine. It would jeopardize our ability to use federal COVID-19 funding, put our front-line workers at risk, and make it more difficult for the state to get personal protective equipment, testing supplies and other vital resources. At the end of the day, the call to reconvene for the sole purpose of stripping the governor of her emergency powers is a shortsighted attempt to score political points that would only further spread the virus, allow our economy to worsen and leave Maine people paying the ultimate price.
“Throughout this public health crisis, our number one priority has to be what’s best for Maine people. Even though the Legislature has adjourned, we’re still working from our districts to respond to constituent concerns, advocate for policy changes at the state and federal level and get people the resources they need. Next week, we’ve called for Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman to appear before the Labor and Housing Committee for a briefing to sort out issues with unemployment.
“So far, the Legislature has worked together to put Maine people ahead of partisanship. As we begin to reopen the state, we must do the same. I’ve encouraged the governor to adopt a legislative advisory council similar to what other states have done. We need to work with small businesses and health experts to keep people safe and make sure we don’t have to shut down our economy again.”