ICYMI: NC House Republicans File Bill To Limit Governor’s Emergency Powers

March 11, 2021
For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - The House Republicans filed House Bill 264 to fix the problem exploited by Governor Cooper in the North Carolina Emergency Act. Cooper has exploited the Act to unilaterally enact orders to close schools, deny constitutional rights and crush small businesses across North Carolina. 

The legislation balances the need of the government to respond in an emergency and sufficiently checks against unbridled executive authority. 

“The legislation filed today in the North Carolina House will protect our constitutional order by reinstating checks on the executive’s emergency powers in an extended crisis,” said NCGOP Communications Director Tim Wigginton. “Governor Cooper’s abuse of emergency powers sets a dangerous precedent for the future and this legislation prevents further erosion of our constitutional order in the name of an emergency.” 

The bill filed today follows the trend of other state legislatures reigning in the executive branch’s emergency powers in an extended crisis. Even in New York, Democrats are reigning in the powers of Governor Cooper’s best friend Andrew Cuomo. 

To watch the full press conference click here.

Here are some key quotes from the lawmakers at the press conference:

“We all agree that the COVID-19 crisis required emergency action. However, the law that granted these emergency powers was not written with today’s challenges in mind. There needs to be more bipartisan input and more checks and balances. There is no unilateral rule in a constitutional republic.” Representative John Bell, NC House Majority Leader.

“Simply put, no one person should have the unilateral authority to shut down schools, businesses, and livelihoods, especially for over a year. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it's about clarifying the law to address today’s challenges by encouraging more bipartisan consensus.” Representative John Bell.

“This bill would clarify the Emergency Management Act to make clear that the Governor needs Council of State approval for certain emergency actions. Much of the act already requires Council of State approval and has for some time. In fact, Governor Cooper sought Council of State approval when orders first started.” Representative Destin Hall, House Rules Chair

“All of these decisions have been made by one person without the requirement that he consult at least one other elected official, and the result of that is that orders have become politicized. At first, Governor Cooper asked for Council of State approval, but when the Council of State pushed back; he switched legal theories.” Representative Destin Hall.