Updated: May 12, 2020 05:25 PM
Created: May 12, 2020 04:28 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The Republican Party of New Mexico is calling on U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr to review the governor's public health order, and possibly intervene.
Republicans claim the order violates their civil rights, and is hurting the economy.
"We feel like safety and health are extremely important, but we also feel like we've got to allow small businesses to open," said Steve Pearce, chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party. "They're fabric, they're the soul of our small communities, and they're just routinely shut down."
In an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19, the governor's executive orders have shuttered some businesses for weeks, and limited mass gatherings.
"It's terribly unfortunate that we've seen stores and businesses singled out only because someone called in and said I don't know that they're essential," said House Minority Leader Rep. James Townsend.
Republicans are also concerned about limitations on places of worship and gun stores.
"We filed a lawsuit to try to get those gun stores labeled as essential and back open and again, no relief from the courts -- to this day that case hasn't made it up for an actual ruling to say that gun stores are essential," said Tony Mace, president of the New Mexico Sheriff's Association. "We really need somebody from an outside source to come and look at this."
Republicans say they have not received an official response from Attorney General Barr, but they are confident he will address their concerns.
Meanwhile, the governor insists her orders are based on public health.
"If some people want to take advantage of a global pandemic, of the deaths of their neighbors, to try and make political hay, so be it," said a spokesperson for the governor. "But this is not a political issue, this is an issue of life and death, and the public health crisis at hand is what we are focused on."
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