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Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Quietly Rescinds Some Emergency Orders

While the emergency was originally instituted with much fanfare, the executive orders are being quietly rescinded.

On September 27, 2022, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham relinquished some of her emergency executive orders with immediate effect.

The original order, signed March 11, 2020, signaled the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Mexico. After 930 days of “emergency”, some remnants remain, but much of the public health crisis is being swept away. Over two years of mismanagement and exploitation are quietly being forgotten.

There are many who were supportive of the concept of “two weeks to flatten the curve”. When two weeks turned into two months, and two months turned into two years, it became clear that the government could abuse the scientific process to lock citizens in their homes and artificially create bread lines.

It was something from a dystopian novel.

Every governor should have the ability to mobilize resources quickly to respond to threats. However, the pandemic shows that without legislative oversight, this process could be easily abused. For over two years, public health authorities and police responded to only one person: the governor.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines a dictator as an absolute ruler. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham became that: a political leader who possessed absolute power. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.

During the early days of the pandemic, Grisham made an exception to her stay-at-home order to facilitate the purchase of jewelry, underscoring that the law was for everyone else, not for her.

Hail Caesar. We who are about to die salute you.

KOB analyzed spending of the governor’s contingency fund from July through December 2020, a period of time marked by the restricted capacity of grocery stores, limited outdoor allowances, and prohibited business operations.

Chris Ramirez highlights some of the purchases: “According to receipts made public through an Inspection of Public Records Act request, the items include anything from laundry detergent to Wagyu beef, tuna steaks, top sirloin and hundreds of dollars in alcohol purchases.”

While New Mexicans were suffering to keep their businesses open, Caesar was throwing lavish parties. The hypocrisy is astounding.

All of these restrictions for the sake of public health did not improve New Mexico’s pandemic mortality outcomes. The land of enchantment suffered 408 deaths per 100,000, with some of the most severe restrictions in the country. Meanwhile, South Dakota, with minimal restrictions, reported 341 deaths per 100,000.

That, and 18% of New Mexico restaurants permanently shuttered, according to Carol Wight, executive director of the New Mexico Restaurant Association. And that’s just the restaurant industry.

KRQE reported that only 60% of small businesses remained open as of July 2021.

The growth in joblessness, the increased homelessness, the closed businesses, and the unprecedented hardship were all caused by and should be blamed on one person: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The rescinded orders include:

  • Executive Order 2020-016
    Directing the Motor Vehicle Division of the Taxation and Revenue Department to Temporarily Waive All Late Fees and Penalties That Could be Assessed Under the Motor Vehicle Code; Directing Law Enforcement Not to Issue Citations to Individuals Who Qualify for a Waiver of Late Fees and Penalties in This Order
  • Executive Order 2020-017
    Directing the New Mexico Department of Transportation to Create Emergency Expedited Special Permits
  • Executive Order 2020-021
    Commuting the Sentences of Incarcerated Individuals Who Meet Certain Criteria and Instructing the Department of Corrections to Release Those Individuals From Its Facilities
  • Executive Order 2020-025
    Directing All Executive Agencies to Afford a Presumption of a Compensable Occupational Disease and to Award Service Credit to Certain Qualifying State Employees and Volunteers
  • Executive Order 2021-006
    Order Rescinding Executive Order 2020-075 and Instituting Advisory Quarantine and Testing for Individuals Traveling to New Mexico
  • Executive Order 2021-062
    Expanding COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose Eligibility to All Adults Working or Living in New Mexico

We are still waiting, with bated breath, for the rescinding of Executive Order 2020-004, the declaration of the public health emergency.

To Executive Order 2022-142: do not go gentle into that goodnight. That document and every additional executive order rescinding previous executive orders should forever serve as a stark reminder that despots have no place in our United States.

Now, it is up to the legislature to institute meaningful reform and restore the balance of power, ensuring that such a draconian governing crisis never occurs again. Allowing an initial emergency declaration, but requiring legislative approval to extend the emergency beyond 30 days would be a good first step.

Or the voters can institute meaningful reform. At the polls.

Election day is November 8th.

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