by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
According to Ballotpedia,
COVID-19 emergency orders have expired in 26 states. Emergency orders remain active in 24 states.
As of now, North Carolina is in that minority of states, thanks to Gov. Roy Cooper.
Cooper has frequently linked his “State of Emergency” not with an emergency, but with being able to capture federal funds. As he stated in his June 2 press briefing, “The state of emergency needs to continue. We need to continue to draw down federal funds.” And the “Frequently Asked Questions” for his current order states outright that “The State of Emergency maintains state’s ability to receive federal funding to meet challenges presented by COVID-19.”
This novel justification does not seem rooted in reality, however, given that the majority of U.S. states have lifted emergency orders. Regardless, it is highly indicative that the rationale isn’t a state of emergency, but a state of grasping opportunism.
The state Emergency Management Act (EMA) was never intended for use in perpetuity, especially not as a lever to “draw down federal funds” as an end in itself. The need to reform the EMA is as pressing as ever.