Lawmakers took no action on the bill.
House Bill 358 would have legislators reconvene 30 days after approving expanded emergency powers for a governor if they wanted to extend them. If the General Assembly did not meet, the powers would expire. Legislators could choose to extend the emergency powers for up to an additional 90 days, at which point they would have to meet again if they wanted to grant another extension.
Lawmakers also would have the ability to shrink or broaden the types of powers the governor could assume during an emergency each time they approved any extension.
Some of Setzler’s colleagues questioned the mechanics of reconvening in person during a state of emergency. Many noted that if they had to come back 30 days after initially granting Kemp powers in March to extend his authority to navigate the pandemic, most lawmakers would not have returned to the Capitol.
State Rep. Roger Bruce, an Atlanta Democrat, pushed to amend the bill to allow for virtual meetings.
“If it’s an emergency, we need to be able to move quick, and I can’t think of a quicker way to move than using this electronic method to meet,” Bruce said.
Under current law, once the Legislature ratifies a governor’s emergency order and grants him or her emergency powers, the governor can decide to extend them without input from lawmakers.
“The idea of having a date certain by which it terminates where the governor has to consult with the Legislature mandates legislative involvement and input,” Setzler said.