Governor Gavin Newsom’s power limited during Covid-19 by Judge

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A judge on Monday preliminarily ordered California Gov. Gavin Newsom to stop issuing directives related to the coronavirus that might interfere with state law.

Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman tentatively ruled that one of the dozens of executive orders Newsom has issued overstepped his authority and was “an unconstitutional exercise of legislative power.”

It’s the second time a judge in the same county has reached the same conclusion, which runs counter to other state and federal court decisions backing the governor’s emergency powers. An appeals court quickly stayed the earlier order in June.

Heckman’s decision will become final in 10 days unless Newsom’s attorneys can raise new challenges. Newsom did not immediately comment or say if he will appeal.

More than 22 million people are registered to vote in California, which is about 88% of all eligible adults. All voters got a ballot in the mail this year as part of the state’s effort to encourage people to vote remotely to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Despite the mail-in ballots, in-person voting has started in most counties across the state. To curb the spread of COVID-19, the state Legislature allowed counties to offer fewer in-person polling places in exchange for opening them earlier, with some counties opening voting places last Friday.

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