North Carolina governor veto another bill restricting emergency powers
North Carolina Democratic Governor Roy Cooper on Monday vetoed the latest Republican bill to curtail his powers, this time legislation that would have required other elected leaders to sign long-term emergency declarations like those for COVID-19.
The governor has vetoed a measure that is a bit like a 2020 bill that he also formally blocked. This year’s bill would have required the application of a statewide emergency governor’s order for only seven days, unless a majority in the State Council agreed to extend it up to 45 days. In order for the emergency ordinance to last longer, the legislator should pass a law to this effect.
Many GOP officials and their allies have complained about Cooper’s guidelines restricting trade and requiring masks that followed his first declaration of coronavirus emergency issued in March 2020. That declaration remains in place.
Cooper said the legislation, which would apply immediately to him and future governors, would discourage “decisive, swift and comprehensive action” that an emergency needs, “not bureaucracy and politics.”
“North Carolina is emerging from a global pandemic with lives saved and a strong economy thanks to effective statewide measures to protect public health under current Emergency Management Act,” he said. Cooper said in his veto message. in any other emergency, should stay with experts in public health and safety, not with a committee of partisan politicians. ”
As with the 2020 vetoed bill, Republican lawmakers are unlikely to find the votes necessary to override the veto on this bill. Only one Democrat joined Republicans to vote on the final measure. GOP leaders said the measure was not intended to slander the governor’s past actions, but rather to restore some checks and balances to emergency management by removing decision-making from a leader.
“The governor’s veto undermines our constitution, the balance of power and the rule of law,” said Rep. Keith Kidwell, Beaufort County Republican and sponsor of the bill. “It also shows the dangers of centralizing power in the hands of one person.”
Often the governor has issued orders during the pandemic without the “approval” of the Council of State. and in many cases state law does not require it, or the courts have upheld his actions. The council is defined to the extent as the other nine elected executive officers statewide, such as the lieutenant governor and the attorney general. Republicans currently hold a majority in the council and legislature.
The bill would also have required that a governor obtain formal support from the State Council when the state health director wishes to issue quarantine and isolation orders for groups of people that last more than seven. days.
Cooper had until midnight Monday to sign or veto the bill. Otherwise, it would have become law without his signature.
Cooper vetoed several additional measures last year that restricted his power or overturned his COVID-19 decisions.
Monday’s veto marks Cooper’s 12th spot this year. None of the previous 11 have been overturned, largely because the Republican majorities in the House and Senate are not veto-proof.