State lawmakers across the U.S. to limit emergency powers of governors

Travelers wearing protective face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reclaim their luggage at the airport in Denver, Colorado, U.S.

State lawmakers across the U.S. are taking actions to limit the emergency powers of governors — not just in the current coronavirus pandemic, but for any future emergencies.

The pushback is coming primarily from Republican lawmakers but is not entirely partisan. GOP lawmakers are targeting both Democratic and Republican governors.

When the pandemic hit a year ago, many governors and their top health officials temporarily ordered residents to remain home, limited public gatherings, prohibited in-person schooling and shut down dine-in restaurants, gyms and other businesses. Many governors have been repealing or relaxing restrictions after cases declined from a winter peak and as more people get vaccinated.

The potential remains in many states for governors to again tighten restrictions if new variants of the coronavirus lead to another surge in cases.

The U.S. has recorded 31 million coronavirus cases and more than 561,000 confirmed deaths, the most in the world.

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