Lawsuit Against Hutchinson Administration’s Covid-19 Edicts
On September 3rd, a lawsuit will be filed against Governor Asa Hutchinson’s administration over Covid-19 directives which have been imposed without procedural safeguards or review by the Arkansas General Assembly.
The plaintiffs are state legislators and citizens. The plaintiffs are led by state Representative Dan Sullivan (R-Jonesboro). Earlier this year Sullivan won nomination for state Senate and is unopposed in the general election.
The lawsuit will be filed against the Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, Jose Romero, MD. The Health Department has issued at least forty-three directives, without the procedural safeguards under emergency rulemaking.
Arkansas’ administrative procedure law sets standards on how state agencies adopt rules. The law even provides streamlined procedures for emergency rulemaking, which includes an eventual review of the emergency rules by a legislative committee.
These procedures have been bypassed by calling the Covid-19 rules “directives.” What the Hutchinson administration calls them does not matter. What matters is whether the directives are “rules” within the meaning of the administrative procedure law. And, what also matters is the Arkansas Constitution’s separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
We wonder why the Governor insists on RULING FROM UPON HIGH instead of embracing procedural safeguards.
Attached is the plaintiffs Petition for Declaratory Judgement.
Also attached is the Press Release concerning the lawsuit and announcing a rally on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock at noon Thursday, September 3rd.