Rhode Island Attorney General Candidate Chas Calenda reacted strongly to Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation Director Liz Tanner’s Assertion that “Mask usage is not going away anytime soon” (followed by a string of dubious scientific claims)

 

As an attorney and candidate to be Rhode Island’s next Attorney General, I continue to have
grave concerns about the on-going and never-ending status of the emergency executive orders
issued by Governor Raimondo and now Governor McKee, including the mask mandate that has
remained in place for well over a year, as well as the unelected and unaccountable
administrative officials using these emergency orders to deprive individuals and businesses of
their fundamental freedoms.

The authority of the Governor to issue these emergency orders derives from the idea that in
times of imminent danger to Rhode Islanders when there isn’t enough time for the General
Assembly to act, the Governor has certain emergency powers to combat the imminent threat to
the safety of the people. These powers were meant to be temporary measures to ensure
continuity of government and preservation and use of resources necessary to protect the
people against the threat.

DBR has now seemingly made clear that the goalposts, once again, have been moved as it
relates to what will it take to end the emergency. We have widely available vaccines,
plummeting death and hospitalization rates, yet we have DBR officials definitively telling us
that despite being fully vaccinated, we cannot be around our own family without wearing
masks, never mind being in public. This is in spite of the fact that this DBR official freely admits
that the government doesn’t actually know if there is any rational basis or science behind this
decree. Where is our Attorney General, the so-called “People’s Lawyer”, on this? Instead of advocating
for pending legislation that would force people to spend $20 – $50k to convert their homes to
electric heat, shouldn’t he be concerned with reviewing the legality of the never-ending
executive orders behind DBR’s enforcement mechanisms? Shouldn’t he be concerned with the
damage that continued social isolation has had on the mental health of the people of Rhode
Island?

If I am fortunate enough to be elected Attorney General in 2022, I will not sit idly by while the
Governor and his or her administrative agencies continue to abuse their executive powers at
the expense of the people of this State. I will independently review and take appropriate action,
where necessary, to ensure that the rights of all people are being protected no matter what the
politics of the situation may be.

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