Throughout the entire coronavirus pandemic, the California Legislature has taken a backseat. Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken the charged issuing an alarming number of executive orders.
Some of his orders have included shutting down businesses, move local elections to strictly vote-by-mail, spent more money on homeless shelters, altered court proceedings, and has provided benefits for essential workers.
Since March 4, the day California announced its first death from coronavirus, Newsom has signed 32 executive orders.
"His powers are essentially, virtually, without limit," said Steve Merksamer, a Sacramento political consultant. "The only real limitation, besides the Constitution, is common sense."
California leaders and residents from both political parties have praised Newsom for his handling of the pandemic so far. His most notable action was his early stay-at-home order, which has since then been highly credited with helping control the spread of COVID-19
But now after a month of being on recess, California lawmakers are starting to worry about Newsom's decision making. Most of the public frustrations after the governor appeared on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" to announce that he would spend nearly $1 billion on maks.
Lawmakers were upset because they felt like it was inappropriate for them to find out about a massive purchase through the media, and without their authority.
“We have not been engaged, and we have been trying to engage,” said Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) at an Assembly budget hearing Monday, one of only two Capitol meetings scheduled in apparent response to the mask buy. “We often as legislators hear maybe five minutes before an executive order comes out or by watching live the governor’s daily updates to get information, and that's a challenge."
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