State legislators fighting stay in Newsom lawsuit

Gov. Gavin Newsom
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The state Assembly members who sued Gov. Gavin Newsom over his use of executive power are fighting back against a California appellate court’s decision Tuesday to grant a stay of a lower court’s injunction against the governor.

The stay was issued through the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento after the governor’s legal team appealed Sutter County Judge Sarah Heckman’s Nov. 13 ruling that imposed an injunction on Newsom, preventing him from issuing executive orders that create new laws. 

The injunction, which ultimately ruled that Newsom overstepped his power when he mandated in June that all registered voters receive vote-by-mail ballots due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is stayed until a higher court considers the appeal. 

The Nov. 13 ruling comes after state Assembly members James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, and Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, sued the governor, arguing that he changed existing state law, bypassing the Legislature. 

On Friday, Gallagher and Kiley filed a preliminary opposition to the stay, alleging the petition is “defective,” according to court documents. 

“Such sandbagging should not be rewarded with the extraordinary remedy of writ relief, which petitioner (Newsom) seeks to abuse as a vehicle to re-try the case,” read the filing. 

In an earlier statement, Newsom Press Secretary Jesse Melgar said Heckman’s ruling negatively affects the state’s response to the pandemic. 

“We believe the court ruling is wrong and threatens California’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts,” he said then, adding that the Governor’s Office would seek an emergency stay while pursuing appeal.

In her ruling, Heckman argued that Newsom’s order was “void” under the California Emergency Services Act.

“The California Emergency Services Act (CA Government Code §8550 et seq.) does not authorize or empower the governor of the state of California to amend statutory law or make new statutory law, which is exclusively a legislative function not delegated to the governor under the CESA,” read the ruling. 

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