• 84°

It does not add up

Story after story has addressed issues regarding the coronavirus. If one takes the time to compare stories side by side, government decisions make little sense.

In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam has chosen to act the oracle of compassion and commonsense. He asked the General Assembly to allow those prisoners who had less than a year left on their sentences to be let out early if he chose to. The Democrat majority dutifully did as he requested. This group included rapists and murderers. In one case, the victim was a police officer. In another, closer to home in Halifax County, a woman murdered her son-in-law and was released after serving only eight years. The communities in which these murders were committed are furious.

Now consider that only last year, the same compassionate Governor Northam told Virginia that it was perfectly acceptable to allow a baby to die after it had been born, defining it as a “a late-term abortion”.

Texas too was releasing some prisoners earlier. I hope not murderers and rapists. Compare that to a judge deciding to put a hairdresser in jail for several days because she acted in her family’s best interest, needing income for her family to survive. Never mind that she could have come in contact with the virus in jail just as easily as the felons could in prison.

Numerous stories tell how governors, such as ours, are keeping “stay-at-home” policies going while a study in New York shows that two thirds of those being hospitalized were staying at home with the balance at nursing homes, hospitals, and other places where one might be expected to be infected.

These same governors seem to be very comfortable playing God in deciding what businesses are deemed worthy of being allowed to remain open and which ones face bankruptcy because they are using their life savings paying rent and on-going expenses with no income. Consider that the ABC stores were allowed to remain open. They have operated with shorter hours allowing the staff to do the things needed to disinfect the store. It appears that the governor believes that business owners are too stupid or uncaring to be allowed to open under the same rules. He has said that he might let some businesses re-open this week, but no promises. He said some can open while others will have to wait even longer. Governor Northam does not trust restaurant owners to allow patrons to come into the restaurants to eat. Those that I have talked with would be willing to remove tables in order to space diners farther apart, but they cannot survive extra weeks without some income. If you have a drive thru window, you can generate some income but others do not even have the ability to do that.

Graciously, the governor might let us go back to church. A right he had no authority to take away from those of us of faith. That is being played out currently in the court. Church leaders are actually smart and caring enough to decide if services should be held or if there is an alternative such as holding services outside in the fresh air.

POWER OF THE GOVERNOR

When the power to deal with an emergency was given to the governor, it was never imagined that this would extend forever. No one would have dreamed that a governor would have the audacity to have a running emergency in which he can extend his dictatorial powers indefinitely with no regard to the effect it would have on the survival of family businesses. Yet, that is what the language says. If the Governor announces he is going to extend the emergency, he simply has to say so before the original 30 days runs out. This must be amended to prevent misuse of this section of the law.

Clearly, when an emergency occurs, the executive branch and governor need to be able to react. However, he should bring legislators together when there is a possible need to extend such an emergency. It makes far more sense to bring together the representatives of the people in order for other points of view to be considered.

Frank Ruff Jr. represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@verizon.net.