(FiveNation.com)- United States governors play a substantial role in national and state politics, and it was perhaps during the COVID-19 outbreak that the power and role of the governors became more evidence.
A governor is the highest-ranking elected official in a state, and his or her role is more extensive and varied than members of the state’s legislature. The main purpose of a governor is to ensure that legislation is implemented properly, that legislature is in the interest of the state, to serve as the commander-in-chief for the state’s National Guard, and for addressing the citizens on matters relating to the state.
Governors are effectively the managers of state, responsible for managing operations of the state’s executive, implementing new state-wide laws, and issuing executive orders. They are ceremonial heads of their states, and will often represent the state during official visits from foreign dignitaries.
How Many Governors Are There, And How Are They Elected?
Every state has one governor, meaning there are 50 governors in total.
A governor is elected in a statewide vote and serves four years in office, with the exceptions of New Hampshire and Vermont, where governors serve only two years in office.
Most states have their own term limits rules meaning a governor cannot serve for too long.
The Legislative Role of Governors
When it comes to the state legislature, governors are responsible for the enactment of the state legislature, which involves signing bills into law in the same way that the president does on federal legislation.
Governors enact state legislative and confirm executive and judicial appointments. Governors oversee the agenda of legislative sessions, and also approve budgets.
These budgets are developed and submitted biennially, which are then reviews and approved by the state legislature.
Additional Veto Powers
Perhaps one of the most significant additional powers that a governor has is the veto. Every single governor in the United States has the ability to veto legislation. That veto stops bills becoming legislation, but it does not give the governor total power. The veto can be overturned by the legislation but typically only with a supermajority vote.
That means to overcome a governor’s veto of new legislation, almost the entire legislature will need to work together on a bipartisan basis to overturn it. The veto measure is designed to stop legislation passed by a small minority that the governor believes is not in the interest of his or her state, forcing the legislature to work together more closely on revising that legislation.
As you probably saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, governors also have emergency powers. These are saved for times of great crisis and natural disasters, giving governors the power to make decisions to ensure the safety of residents.
These emergency powers focus around four stages of a disaster, which are “Prepare,” “Prevent,” “Respond,” and “Recover.”
Emergency powers were used by some governors during COVID 19 to implement mandates requiring people to wear masks while in public.