Andrew Manuse: Testimony for HCR2 (terminating the SOE)

To the Honorable Members of the N.H. House Committee on Legislative Administration:

I’m writing as a citizen of New Hampshire imploring you to take back the People’s authority through the Legislature by passing HCR 2 and ending the State of Emergency immediately. For better or for worse, the People’s authority that you represent has been usurped by the executive branch, and this state of lawlessness has persisted well beyond any reasonable time period. As such, many businesses and organizations who have been harmed the most by the onerous shutdowns and authoritarian restrictions have also been fined and threatened with fines for assuming a degree of normalcy as they attempt to survive–a term not used in our once prosperous state for well over 100 years. It is imperative that we restore our Constitutional Republic and the old normal immediately to ensure these businesses can operate with a fair and balanced rule of law as they were accustomed to before, which protects the minority from the majority.

Whether or not you agree with the content of the copious Emergency Orders passed by the Chief Executive since March of 2020, or the persistent State of Emergency that has well surpassed any expectation of the writer of RSA 4:45, the fact of the matter is that your Legislative body ought to be writing state policy, the courts ought to be adjudicating disputes, and the governor ought to be enforcing law, rather than assuming all three duties for himself. One might argue that the ideas in some of the governor’s emergency orders might not pass if left to the Legislature, but that is precisely the point of having a separation of powers in our government. No one man (or woman) should be writing policy for more than a million people without any checks on his (or her) power. The Constitutional process ensures that policies that are for the public good move forward, and others that do not measure up to the Body’s consensus ought not to be law. This isn’t about one governor, but about any governor at any time. We have a Legislature and a Constitutional process for proposing and adopting state policy after it has been fully vetted by the public to make sure it is Constitutional and useful for building up the people’s liberty and securing their rights. It is now time for you to ensure this power is restored by ending the State of Emergency.

Now if this governor is as popular as some of you believe–and to be clear, I don’t believe that he is–I still remind you that we do not live in a Democracy where the majority rules or the most praised idea wins the day. Even the best ideas ought to be vetted and held up to the standard of law written in the Constitution to ensure that the minority’s rights are protected. If 99 people of 100 think that the one person’s land that he purchased and developed under the law is better suited to another private purpose, it doesn’t matter. We have a constitutional provision that prohibits that majority from taking the land because that one person’s rights matter. The point of the example is that we have laws in this state that you may have even helped write, and these laws are being disregarded right now. They shouldn’t be. As the Constitution makes clear, only the Legislature or the People have the authority to suspend or create laws. The governor and other executive branch officials do not have this authority. In a state of emergency under RSA 4:45 and related statutes, the governor may suspend rules or regulations passed by the executive branch of government, but by no means may he suspend law or the Constitution or write new law himself. However, he is doing just that under the color of law with his emergency orders, and it has to end now. Frankly, there is no higher priority than making this right by passing HCR 2.

I have nothing to gain by making this request of you, and everything to lose. I simply want to go back to the way of life that I know to be best suited for providing the most people with the best chance of a fulfilling life. I want that for my children, for my wife, for my Church, for my clients and for the people of this state. And I want to make sure that no governor can ever again do what this governor has done, for there is no emergency that warrants the total control of one man. The idea is anathema to this country. I ask you to stand together, Republicans and Democrats, in boldness, and end one-man rule in New Hampshire. Restore our Constitutional Republic without fear and know that, while messy, a free society does more good for more people than any other system that has been tried. Please pass HCR 2 so we can get back to it.

Hon. Andrew J. Manuse
Derry, NH

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