New lawsuit takes aim at governor’s emergency powers

Updated: Jul. 20, 2020 at 2:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new lawsuit is seeking to overturn the governor’s emergency powers during much of the coronavirus pandemic.

The suit was filed on behalf of a Kona family by local attorney Jim Hochberg and the Center for American Liberty. It alleges that after Gov. David Ige invoked his emergency powers on March 4, they lapsed on May 3.

“When his authority to issue emergency orders ended automatically, anything that he did in that regard subsequently was unlawful,” said Hochberg.

The attorney said any arrests or fines against people violating the state’s quarantine law after May 3 are not valid.

“I think that’s baloney and I have every expectation that our Attorney General will kick the crap out of the argument in court,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

“For one thing, the governor and I have pretty extensive powers for health and safety and if a pandemic does not meet that standard, I don’t know what does.”

The lawsuit comes about two weeks after a federal judge dismissed a restraining order to a lawsuit challenging the state’s 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers.

U.S. District Judge Jill Otake ruled that the quarantine was reasonable given the pandemic’s dangers to the public.

As for the latest suit, Hochberg says his clients will seek a restraining order to invalidate the governor’s emergency powers.

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