RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – The North Carolina Senate on Tuesday passed a bill to limit the governor’s emergency powers.
The measure passed 28-21 and will next head to the House, which already approved a bill seeking to limit emergency powers of the governor. Senate Bill 346 would require the Council of State to approve a governor’s emergency declaration within 10 days. If it doesn’t approve it, the declaration expires.
While state law already requires a governor to run some orders past the Council of State, courts have nearly always upheld Gov. Roy Cooper’s ability to act unilaterally during the pandemic due to the public health dangers.
If the Council of State approves the emergency declaration, it can continue for up to 45 days without legislative authorization. The state Senate and House must approve extensions beyond 45 days.
The Council of State is a group of 10 statewide elected officers. It includes the Lt. Governor, auditor, and attorney general.
Republicans and some allies have said Cooper has wielded too much individual power during the pandemic.