Representative Hall has filed House Bill 264 “Emergency Powers Accountability Act” to strengthen the Emergency Management Act by requiring approval from Council of State for emergency actions taken by a Governor that apply to over two thirds of North Carolina counties. Through 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:
“One year ago, most people did not believe that the Governor had the power to shut down an entire state. Most at least assumed there were some checks and balances. Such consequential decisions should be made in a deliberative process with other elected officials.” 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 an executive order that would apply to 67 or more counties. The Governor must receive concurrence from the Council of State within one week from issuance of the executive order in question.
• If the Council of State does not concur with the Governor’s executive order, the order must be rescinded.
• 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.
If passed House Bill 264 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 seven days after the act becomes law unless a concurrence of the Council of State is sought and received.