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Colorado governor to let go of pandemic executive powers

June 15, 2021 GMT

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he will begin phasing out the executive authority he has been granted during the coronavirus pandemic after creating, amending and extending about 400 orders since March 2020.

The Democrat told The Denver Post that he’s now ready to let go of his unprecedented authority.

“The pandemic still exists,” he said, but “our hospital capacity is no longer threatened. We have 60% of the population vaccinated. So at this point, we would go to kind of regular order, which means the legislature passes laws, I can sign laws, and you can see the phaseout of those executive powers over time.”

Polis has continued to exert his executive authority through multiple emergency mandates, enacting 17 orders in March, 13 in April, 10 in May and six so far this month.

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“In general, the time for these emergency actions is over, or near over. I believe in a republic and I believe in three branches of government,” Polis said. “It’s not the role of the governor to do that long-term. It’s the role of the governor to react in an emergency.”

Polis’ promise to phase out his powers was well received news among Republican state officials who have worked for months to remove his additional authority. Republican state Sen. Paul Lundeen said he will believe it when he sees it. Others, such as Jason Legg, an eviction defense attorney who works with 9to5 Colorado, said infections and hospitalizations going down shouldn’t lead Polis to believe housing instability is not in need of executive actions.

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This story has been updated to correct that Polis is a Democrat, not a Republican.