Since last spring, many governors have used the pandemic to assume emergency powers, giving them wide-ranging authority to, among other things, shut down businesses, close schools, and enforce stay-at-home orders.

Unfortunately, many abused this authority, wielding unilateral powers while dismissing the checks and balances of state government. Throughout the United States, excessive lockdowns resulted, harming local economies and individual livelihoods. We’re only now beginning to understand the costs of these restrictions on jobs, mental health, education, and civil liberties.

But state legislatures are moving against governors’ arbitrary decision-making. The pushback, dating to last summer, has gathered increasing momentum as the rationale for lockdowns subsided. Just this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 45 states have proposed more than 300 measures to limit governors’ executive authority. A bipartisan consensus has emerged among lawmakers to check excessive gubernatorial emergency powers.

In Arkansas and Utah, for example, Republican governors – welcoming legislation that limits their executive power – recently signed bills to restore legislative oversight. In Kentucky and Ohio, state legislators overrode their governors’ vetoes of similar legislation. A similar proposal is advancing in Indiana, while in Kansas, lawmakers voted to end existing emergency orders while providing legislative oversight of new ones. All six states have legislatures with Republican majorities.

Even in deep-blue New York, Democrats struck a deal to limit the powers of its embattled Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. Limiting governors’ unchecked power isn’t a partisan fight; it’s about good governance.

The movement to limit a governor’s emergency powers is particularly evident in Pennsylvania, where lawmakers have pursued a year-long effort to restore checks and balances. Last summer, in addition to favoring numerous bills to reopen the economy, the legislature voted – with a bipartisan majority – to end Democratic governor Tom Wolf’s emergency declaration. The state Supreme Court, however, ruled that the governor could veto this resolution, and he did – a ruling that set the bar for overturning an emergency declaration even higher than the votes necessary for impeachment.