The abiding by and understanding of myriad executive orders — and associated civil and criminal penalties — has become a part of the day-to-day lives of both Arizona residents and U.S. citizens from sea to shining sea.
Depending on who you ask, the most recent executive orders emanating from the Office of the Arizona Governor have certainly impacted a once-buzzing local economy by decree and defined what businesses were and were not deemed “essential.”
One common understanding, however, is those executive orders put in place by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has stopped the widespread spread of COVID-19 throughout Arizona and saved countless lives.
In addition, the governor’s office provides up-to-date information online, in real-time about both public health guidelines and executive order clarifications at azgovernor.gov.
Mask mandates and mandatory closures spanned weeks in Arizona forcing hundreds of businesses to shutter, the federal government issuing stimulus dollars and Paycheck Protection Program loans to keep those holding on afloat.
Today a groundswell of Arizona business owners, elected leaders and law enforcement officials say allowing one person to dictate law is against both the Arizona Constitution and U.S. Constitution.
No matter the state of the reopening of economic affairs in cities across the state, the Arizona Capitol this Labor Day will be the site for a rally intended to spur a change in how emergency legislative powers ought to emerge from the capitol.
Bill Crawford, who owns Basic Training, a gym at 4390 N. Miller Road in downtown Scottsdale, is spearheading the rally because, he says, if he doesn’t do it, it won’t get done.
“Last weekend, I was sitting around my office here and I was planning a little adventure for my wife and I started to think about what Labor Day means,” he said recalling a time when, under Arizona executive order, his business was unable to open due to public health concerns surrounding the transmission of COVID-19.
“It kind of hit me hard: Why are we celebrating a day for workers when there are so many people who are not able to go to work right now. It was just a confluence of issues. I think a lot of my recent comments, I had already laid some track.”
Truth be told, Mr. Crawford explained the morning of Aug. 24, his gym had just been cleared by the city of Scottsdale to reopen the following day.
The gym is open today: Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.
“It just so now happens that my business has been approved to be reopened,” he said. “That is great, if I just cease and desist — it was just all about me. But I have to keep this going because it is not just about me. There are people now who are expecting me to carry this.”
For Mr. Crawford, it is the principle of the thing.
“Should I be kissing the ring? They should have never taken it away from me — this is our constitutional right, this is our business,” he said with an impassioned plea.
“The message is: Keep your hands off the private sector and keep your hands off of private businesses. These business owners, most but not all, are totally capable of making the right decisions and taking care of themselves and their customers.”
To better understand the process of the behind-the-scenes process that occurs when the Office of the Arizona Governor opts to consider mandates when a state of emergency is declared, Independent Newsmedia spoke with former Gov. Jan Brewer.
“Regarding executive orders, it is always important to understand the need and why it should be done by executive order,” she explained. “Lots of table discussion is done with staff and under certain circumstances, whoever is being impacted is consulted.”
Even today, Ms. Brewer acknowledges no executive order mandate is taken lightly.
“Generally, most issues can go through the legislative process for debate,” she said noting when a state of emergency is declared. “There are times when it is not possible and it needs to be put into place immediately for the benefit of the state. It is always wise to have process and policy reviewed.”
Jerry Sheridan, candidate for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, contends the issue is as black and white as the letter of the law.
“Elected officials don’t have the power to make law,” he said. “That comes under the purview of the legislative branch of government, so the sheriff as an elected official gets his power from the people through the Arizona Constitution, I do consider the office of sheriff to be a constitutional office.”
Mr. Sheridan contends the lawmaking process is a collaborative one — any other effort is against the Constitution.
“And, so the mandates by the governors, the mayors — even the president are therefore unenforceable,” he said of the power of the Constitution. “That is basically my opinion on it and that will be my message when I speak. The sheriff is given the responsibility to protect and preserve the Constitution and the laws of the state of Arizona and the Arizona Constitution. I don’t know how else I can say that.”