By Legislative Liaison Carolyn Martin
First Extraordinary Session
Governor Polis has requested an Extraordinary Session of the General Assembly to address issues dealing with the state’s pandemic response. (See his full request here.) The governor is asking the legislature to allocate funding in the following areas: small businesses, child care facilities, housing assistance, utilities assistance, food assistance, expansion of broadband internet access, and public health response.
The extraordinary session began on Monday, November 30th and must only deal with the issues the governor specified in his request. The expectation is that it will last less than a week. So, it could be that by the time this is posted, the session will nearly be over.
While the governor did distribute the Federal CARES dollars without legislative oversight, the governor’s role in setting the state budget is one of advising and consenting only. The governor cannot rearrange the state budget or reallocate funding without a bill from the legislature. And remember, the legislature is Constitutionally required to maintain a balanced budget. Since the current majority in the legislature is fully supportive of the governor’s agenda, we can expect that his request for funding will be granted.
When the governor announced his request for this special session, he put the blame on Congress’s inability to pass a bill to give money to the people and the states. This type of thinking, that the government is in the business of charity, is foreign to our Constitution. Consider one farmer’s response to Colonel Davy Crockett, who served as a Representative in the US House, upon Crockett’s approving a $20,000 gift to victims of a fire during the War of 1812:
“The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution. So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.” (Emphasis added)
We have strayed far from our beginnings and the founding principles that God blessed. After the Great Depression, much of what the church did in the name of charity was taken over by the government. God ordained people and His church to extend help to the hurting. Remember this as you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. Give generously this season and pray the church will be restored to its rightful place in our society.
Christmas blessings to you and your family!
Trusting in the mighty power and grace of Jesus,
Carolyn Martin, CHEC Legislative Liaison