Cooper vetoes NC bill that would limit governor’s emergency powers

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gov. Roy Cooper Monday evening announced he had vetoed a bill that was aimed at limiting the governor’s powers during an emergency.

The North Carolina General Assembly had approved the Emergency Powers Accountability Act of HB264 which would require the governor to obtain formal support from other elected leaders to enforce long-term statewide emergency orders.

While state law already requires a governor to run some orders past the Council of State, courts have nearly always upheld Cooper’s ability to act unilaterally during the pandemic due to the public health dangers.

Republicans and some allies have said Cooper has wielded too much individual power during the pandemic.

If it was approved by Cooper, the legislation would update and strengthen current law to require the governor to seek the concurrence of the Council of State when issuing a statewide declaration of emergency beyond thirty days. For this purpose, statewide would mean an emergency area of 67 or more counties.

Last July, Cooper vetoed a bill somewhat similar to the one being considered.

In a statement along with the news release about the veto, Cooper said:

“North Carolina is emerging from a global pandemic with lives saved and a strong economy because of effective statewide measures to protect public health under the Emergency Management Act. Critical decisions about stopping deadly diseases, or responding to any other emergency, should stay with experts in public health and safety, not a committee of partisan politicians. We must be able to act quickly and thoroughly when deadly diseases, hurricanes, or any other dangers threaten people’s lives and jobs. An emergency needs decisive, quick and comprehensive action, not bureaucracy and politics.”

Gov. Roy Cooper

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