NewsCovering Colorado


El Paso County resolution opposes governor's COVID-19 emergency powers

Posted at 6:04 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 08:03:14-04

EL PASO COUNTY — El Paso County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday saying Colorado Gov. Jared Polis went beyond his authority during the COVID-19 crisis.

"I believe the governor has demonstrated great over-reach in his use of his disaster declaration power," said Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez.

Criticism includes changes to the election system. “Of greatest concern is his need to interfere in our election process,” said Commissioner Holly Williams. “The decision to allow petitions to be gathered by email, which is not necessarily the best verifiable method."

"The allocation of funding from the CARES ACT that is the sole jurisdiction of the legislature," said Commissioner Stan VanderWerf.

The governor’s office quickly designated distribution of the federal dollars made available during the emergency. Several commissioners believe Polis ignored Colorado statute requiring funding for the state go through the state’s legislature.

"I consider [it] to be an illegal act of his power,” said Williams. “He needs state legislative authority to distribute those funds." No one from the legislature has challenged the governor’s actions.

Commission Mark Waller called on state lawmakers to look into the issue. "To say you are stepping on our constitutional authority as the legislative body.”

There are no legal ramifications from the vote by commissioners. They passed a resolution, which is a formal statement. The hope is it brings attention and change as the COVID-19 response continues.