Thursday, September 24, 2009

Governor's Authority to Make New Law Effective Immediately

If a law does not have an emergency preamble, it is typically effective 90 days after enactment. The newly-passed law permitting the governor to appoint an interim senator does not have such a preamble. Yet a provision in the state constitution appears to give the governor the authority to determine that the law should take effect immediately by including a letter to the secretary of state explaining his reasoning. Mass. Constitution Articles of Amendment XLVIII, Part II Emergency Measures, says in part "...if the governor, at any time before the election at which it is to be submitted to the people on referendum, files with the secretary of the commonwealth a statement declaring that in his opinion the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety or convenience requires that such law should take effect forthwith and that it is an emergency law and setting forth the facts constituting the emergency, then such law, if not previously suspended as hereinafter provided, shall take effect without suspension...".