It’s ironic that on the 600th day of his latest state of emergency, Governor Cooper vetoed the Emergency Powers Accountability Act. This state of emergency is beginning to approach lengths that have only been seen during prior periods of war.
Two weeks ago, the N.C. legislature passed HB 264: Emergency Powers Accountability Act. This bill would require the Governor to seek concurrence of the Council of State to prolong emergency powers. Specifically, the legislation requires the Governor to get concurrence from the Council of State for an emergency declaration lasting more than seven days and legislative approval for it to extend beyond 45 days. The Council of State consists of a bipartisan group of ten statewide elected executive offices established by the state constitution.
The Governor stated in his 65th veto message, “An emergency needs decisive, quick and comprehensive action, not bureaucracy and politics.” While it is necessary for the executive branch to retain the power to act quickly in situations of emergency, those powers must not be permitted to be abused by an executive branch that does not want to relinquish them.
Governor Cooper has certainly surpassed every former N.C. Governor in his use of executive authority. With more vetoes than every former governor combined and having struck down every piece of legislation that slightly reduces the power of his office, Governor Cooper has shown that he is willing to do anything to retain every ounce of authority he has.