by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
This week N.C. House lawmakers filed a bill that would reform the powers of North Carolina’s governor to declare and continue an emergency. Carolina Journal reports:
House Bill 264, Emergency Powers Accountability Act, would require the governor to seek the concurrence of the Council of State when issuing a statewide declaration of emergency beyond 30 days, a news release says. Statewide would mean an emergency area of 67 or more counties, it says.
The bill comes one year after Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, issued a statewide emergency order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Roy Cooper has used the Emergency Management Act to unilaterally, and for a year, control the movements and livelihoods of more than 10 million North Carolinians. This unilateral use of massive power has focused legislators — and the Locke Foundation — on improving and reforming the law.
At their news conference this week, Reps. John Bell (House Majority Leader) and Destin Hall (House Rules Chairman), explained the bill.
First, listen to Rep. Bell (Greene, Johnston, and Wayne counties) discuss the need for change.
Second, listen to Rep. Hall (Caldwell county) explain the changes the proposed reform would make.
How does North Carolina compare when it comes to emergency powers? See the chart below. The Maine Policy Institute gives us a “C.”
Stay tuned to find out if/how this reforms moves ahead.