Rural lawmakers took Gov. Polis to task for failing to communicate his intention to issue a statewide stay-at-home order and questioned the need for such a drastic step when 44 out of 64 counties have fewer than five cases.
Members of both parties are focused on keeping Coloradans safe during this crisis.
As @GovofCO has said, “we are all in this together.” Therefore it is a reasonable request for the General Assembly to be briefed and consulted before drastic measures are taken. #DoingMyPartCO pic.twitter.com/x6FSySgHSO
— The Colorado GOP (@cologop) March 27, 2020
The letter from 14 state senators was signed Friday by Paul Lundeen, Republican minority whip, Chris Holbert, Republican minority leader, and Sens. John Cook, Bob Rankin, Larry Crowder, Owen Hill, Ray Scott, Jim Smallwood, Nicki Marble, Don Coram, Bob Gardner, Dennis Hisey, Jerry Sonnenberg, and Rob Woodward.
According to the letter, Polis told lawmakers he would consult with leadership before such any such order was given.
By consulting, it appears Polis meant they could all read about it in news reports after the fact.
“Wednesday evening, our emails and phones were lit up with an unrelenting torrent of questions regarding whether or not our constituents could go to work, visit their loved ones, feed their cattle, go to the park, or quickly rush to the grocery store. Sadly, we were unable to quickly ease their minds or quell their fears as the facts, context and details of your executive order were not presented to our caucus,” the letter said.
The lawmakers say the order has “sown discord and fear in Coloradans that are seeking clarity from their elected officials at this time of despair.”
“Elements of the order, especially those directing individuals to report on their neighbors, may have the unintended effect of breaking the bonds of community unity,” the letter said.
Polis’s failure to engage with the General Assembly has indeed been unfortunate.
The number of Coloradans filing for unemployment was already climbing steadily before Polis issued the statewide order.
The consequences of the governor’s actions will certainly reverberate swiftly and send those numbers through the roof.
And for rural counties where jobs are as scarce as the virus itself, it may have all been for naught.