On Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order to extend the state of emergency for another 60 days, keeping Oregonians stuck in their homes until July 6.
As of Saturday, the state which has recorded 104 COVID-19 deaths out of a population of over 4 million, ranks 40th in the country.
KVAL13, the local network in Eugene, seemed unfazed by the extension and reported only that “the state of emergency order allows the Oregon Health Authority and the Office of Emergency Management more authority to respond to the crisis. It also allows state agencies to waive rules or adopt temporary ones.”
Why is such a draconian measure necessary? Why doesn’t Brown at the very most extend the order for 30 days and reassess the conditions at that point? Businesses in other states with far higher death tolls are starting to open up throughout the country, but Gov. Brown plans to save lives.
This is not about saving lives and Brown knows it. She is enjoying her newly acquired powers and plans to hold onto them while she can, even though circumstances no longer warrant it.
Attorney General William Barr spoke at a Twitter Q and A on Friday and discussed the issue of government overreach. Barr said the government “unquestionably has the right” to “impose reasonable and temporary restrictions” during a public health emergency, however, “the Bill of Rights doesn’t go away during a crisis like this. What it does do is it requires that the government justify any restrictions as truly necessary.”
Barr agreed with the early measures “because we didn’t know much about the disease except that it was very contagious.”
“But now that the curve has been flattened, the rate of spread has been slowed, our system has not been overwhelmed and has time to adjust to the situation, it’s time to start rolling back some of these restrictions in an orderly and sensible way,” he explained.
He added, “We are on the lookout for restrictions that are too widespread, too generalized, and are unduly discriminatory toward liberties such as religious liberty or speech, and we try to work with the state and local governments to address these concerns, and in the appropriate case we would consider taking action.”
Mr. Barr, you might want to place a call to Gov. Brown.