Legislation requiring Governor Roy Cooper to obtain Council of State approval before imposing additional restrictions and prohibitions on North Carolinians passed the General Assembly last week.
Senate Bill 105: Clarify Emergency Powers strengthens the Emergency Management Act requiring approval from a majority of the Council of State for emergency actions taken by Governor Cooper. Through his executive orders, Governor Cooper unilaterally crippled our economy by shutting down businesses without following statutory mandates to consult with the Council of State. In a blatant contradiction, Governor Cooper had previously asked for Council of State approval for his first shut down order in March, but then switched legal theories when some Council of State members raised questions.
Representative Destin Hall released a statement:
“The absolute power Governor Cooper is using is not compatible with representative democracy,” said Rep. Hall.
“North Carolinians deserve confidence that the unprecedented restrictions placed on their families and businesses are the result of bipartisan consensus, not the absolute power of one man.”
The North Carolina Council of State consists of 10 executive offices established by the state constitution – the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Labor, and Commissioner of Insurance.
This bill, would…
• Require the Governor to seek the concurrence of the Council of State when issuing a statewide declaration of emergency beyond 30 days. For this purpose, statewide would mean an emergency area of 67 or more counties.
• Require the Governor to seek the concurrence of the Council of State, during a gubernatorially or legislatively declared state of emergency, prior to imposing prohibitions or restrictions appropriate to deal with the emergency in lieu of a county or city exercising its own authority under the Emergency Management Act.
• Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Environmental Quality to inform the Governor, and the Governor to seek the concurrence of the Council of State, prior to determining that a class or category of property uses present an imminent hazard and issuing an order of abatement to close that class or category of properties.
S105 would be effective when it becomes law, and any power exercised under a state of emergency or declaration of emergency existing on that date that would require a concurrence of the Council of State, expires two days after the act becomes law unless a concurrence of the Council of State is sought and received.
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) also released a statement:
“Governor Cooper continues to enact scattershot executive orders without any regard for checks and balances. If Governor Cooper vetoes this bill, it is clear he prioritizes his own power over developing bipartisan solutions to help the people of North Carolina,” said Speaker Moore.