The Oregon state legislature is currently considering a bill which would allow for the Governor to seize, use, or possess any private property during a state of emergency.
HB-2238 is supposedly meant to clarify the “Governor’s authority to use property during an emergency.” There are already provisions in place to allow for limited use of private property by the state government, but this bill seeks to drastically expand these. As proposed in HB-2238,
“Whenever the Governor has declared a state of emergency, the Governor may issue, amend and enforce rules and orders to:
1) Control, restrict and regulate by rationing, freezing, use of quotas, prohibitions on shipments, price fixing, allocation or other means, the use, sale or distribution of food, feed, fuel, clothing and other commodities, materials, goods and services;
2) Prescribe and direct activities in connection with use, conservation, salvage and prevention of waste of materials, services and facilities, including, but not limited to, production, transportation, power and communication facilities training, and supply of labor, utilization of industrial plants, health and medical care, nutrition, housing, rehabilitation, education, welfare, child care, recreation, consumer protection and other essential civil needs; and
3) Take any other action, including through the seizure, use or possession of any real or personal property…”
The Oregon governor would be allowed to take part in “rationing, freezing, use of quotas, prohibition on shipments, price fixing, allocation…” She would also be allowed to “Prescribe and direct activities in connection with… supply of labor, utilization of industrial plants, health and medical care, nutrition, housing, rehabilitation, education, welfare, child care, recreation, consumer protection and other essential civil needs.” When it comes down to it, this bill would allow the Governor broad discretion in what to seize, when to seize it, and how to use it.
Governor Brown has continually declared a State of Emergency in order to justify her use of executive orders. In fact, she recently extended the State of Emergency again, through March of 2021. Governor Brown has also allegedly used mob-like strongarm tactics on businesses that don’t comply with her orders. Given this history, one finds it entirely possible for her to declare a state of emergency in order to take control of any private property she wishes. Potential targets could include hospitals, housing, non-compliant businesses, and perhaps even privately-owned firearms.
The very thought that the government could unilaterally seize one’s property ought terrify every American. The United States of America was founded upon the protection of life, liberty, and property. Whenever a government becomes hostile to these ends, it is no longer a legitimate government, but a despotism.