A Sutter County Superior Court judge issued a statement of decision last week in the lawsuit filed by area state legislators against Gov. Gavin Newsom, which essentially upheld an earlier ruling that the governor overstepped his authority in issuing an executive order related to the November election.

Judge Sarah Heckman presided over the hearing concerning the lawsuit filed by Assemblyman James Gallagher and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, which went to trial in October.

In her decision, which was made official last week, she ruled that the governor’s executive order was not authorized by the California Emergency Services Act because the order improperly amended existing statutory law, exceeding the governor’s authority and violating the separation of powers. She also found good cause to issue a permanent injunction, prohibiting Newsom from exercising any power under the CESA to modify existing statutory law or make new statutory law or legislative policy.

The governor’s legal team also requested Heckman delay the enforcement of the judgement, which was ultimately denied in her latest ruling.

“Today, the court confirmed that Gavin Newsom does not rule California and that we are still a nation of laws. California has not been well-served by one-man rule. A return to representative government will be best for public health and the economy. The governor must accept this ruling as a fundamental principle of our democracy and govern himself accordingly,” according to a joint statement released by Gallagher and Kiley following Heckman’s statement of decision.

Both parties were given a period of 10 days to provide comments following the issuance of Heckman’s tentative decision before it was made official. The governor’s legal team will have the opportunity to appeal Heckman’s decision, which would be through the California Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.

“We believe the court ruling is wrong and threatens California’s COVID-19 emergency response efforts,” said Jesse Melgar, press secretary to Newsom. “We are asking for an emergency stay with our appeal.”

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