San Bernardino County has petitioned the California Supreme Court to allow the county to take control of its local coronavirus measures.
The county filed an action asking the court to find Governor Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order exceeds the authority found in the California Emergency Services Act.
"The governor is not permitted to act as both the executive and legislative branch for nine months under the California Emergency Services Act," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. "If it is concluded that the act allows him to do so, the act is unconstitutional as it permits the delegation of the Legislature's powers to the executive branch in violation of the California Constitution."
San Bernardino County is asking the state to recognize that the county's size and geographic diversity should allow for fewer restrictions in communities with lower COVID-19 metrics than the county as a whole. San Bernardino is the largest county in terms of size in the state and has the fifth largest population with over 2 million residents.
According to the state's metrics, 120.3 new cases per day per 100k. It's the only county to have over 100 new cases per day per 100k. The county argues that the state has not shows the data behind the metrics.
"The governor declared that the state's approach would be based on science and data, but the state has not produced science or data that suggest the restrictions he has imposed would address the current trajectory of the pandemic in San Bernardino County," said former Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who joined the county in the Supreme Court filing as a private citizen.
The filing states the county seeks to reclaim its constitutional authority "to tailor regulations and orders which are specific to its residents based on facts which are unique to their locations rather than subject its residents to overbroad multi-county, Governor-implemented, regionalized lockdowns."
The board of supervisors actually voted to explore the lawsuit on Nov. 17, prior to the announcement new regional stay-at-home order. At the time, San Bernardino County was still in the purple tier, the most restrictive tier.
San Bernardino County has 129,522 total coronavirus cases with 114,747 resolved. The county saw a big increase in cases in November, surpassing Riverside County's total in the middle of the month.
San Bernardino has fewer deaths than Riverside County, however, has more patients hospitalized and admitted into the ICU. San Bernardino still has 152 beds available.
Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing updates on the lawsuit.