Constitutional and Statutory Bases of Governors’ Emergency Powers

The primary source of executive emergency power is the state constitution, although statutes often codify the constitutional executive emergency authority and occasionally delegate additional legislative police powers to the governor. Most governors are authorized to respond to public emergencies with a variety of extraordinary emergency measures. This study of state constitutional and statutory emergency power provisions has been undertaken in an attempt to evaluate the sources and scope of governors’ emergency powers, as well as the limitations upon those powers. Its primary focus will be upon the extreme breadth of executive emergency authority and, in particular, upon the power to use military force during times of public emergency.