Senate votes, 27-15, to limit governor’s emergency powers | Beaufort County Now | The state Senate has voted again, 27-15, to place new limits on the governor’s emergency powers. The Senate’s endorsement of the measure returns the issue to the state House.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is CJ Staff.



    The state Senate has voted again, 27-15, to place new limits on the governor's emergency powers. The Senate's endorsement of the measure returns the issue to the state House.

    The political parties split on House Bill 264, with Republicans voting yes and Democrats voting no.

    Under the latest version of the bill, the governor would need to consult other elected officials to enact emergency measures that last longer than a week.

    "An executive order that is entered at the time of an emergency would not be beyond seven days - unless a majority of the Council of State ... vote in concurrence to have that executive order extend for up to 45 days," said Sen. Danny Britt, R-Robeson, on the Senate floor. The Council of State is a 10-member body featuring every statewide elected executive branch official, including the lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.

    Even the Council of State's concurrence would have limits. "In those instances, those executive orders would extend for only 45 days unless the General Assembly extended that further," Britt added.

    Britt explained the need to place a time limit on the governor's executive orders. "We've been in this pandemic for a long time," he said. "We want our leader in this state to be empowered by the Emergency Management Act, as he has been ... to be able to act in instances of an emergency, especially when we're talking about natural disasters."

    The Emergency Management Act was not designed for a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic "that has extended for almost 18 months," Britt said.

    "Our country is founded - and our state is founded - on the belief that we don't need to have just one individual making all the decisions without the collaboration of others," he said.

    Emergencies lasting longer than a month and a half will require input from "General Assembly members, who represent folks from all over, all regions, all sectors in this state so we can have more input from more people than just one individual."

    Britt reminded colleagues that a pending lawsuit addresses the issue of whether the current Emergency Management Act violates the state constitution. Critics contend the EMA delegates too much legislative authority to the governor.

    "This seeks to fix that issue, while still allowing our executive to have the power he needs to make the decision he needs to make during an emergency, but also ensures that everyone's voice is heard in collaboration going forward."

    H.B. 264 resembled Senate Bill 346, which cleared the Senate in April. "In times of emergencies, there needs to be quick action, and the General Assembly doesn't have time to meet and change policy. That's why decades ago the legislature delegated some power to the governor," said Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, in a news release. "However, it's clear that after 18 months of unilateral decision-making, that authority needs additional checks and balances."

    No Democrat spoke during the Senate's floor debate.

    Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed previous efforts to scale back his emergency powers. Unless some legislative Democrats are willing to join Republicans in supporting H.B. 264, the latest measure could face the same fate.
Go Back

HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

The list of Democrats retiring just keeps growing. From the U.S. House to the North Carolina House, Democrats are running scared because they know their chances of winning are dwindling just like Joe Biden’s approval ratings.
I have been following the Sheppard case and the Franks case the last couple of years with a somewhat dispassionate interest. The wheels of justice grind and they do grind slow.
House Republicans, led by Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), have sent a letter to Biden administration Attorney General Merrick Garland calling his recent schools memo an effort to weaponize the DOJ and curb Constitutional rights.
Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and 49 Senate Republican colleagues filed a formal challenge against President Biden's vaccine mandate under the Congressional Review Act.
Last week, the UNC Board of Governors met at NC State’s Hunt Library for its November meeting.
Amid the shopping bags, holiday music, and twinkle lights, smash and grab crime videos are plaguing the retail season this year.

HbAD1

The parents of the suspect accused of shooting up a high school in Michigan were hit with involuntary manslaughter charges on Friday, prosecutors announced.
If you are covering Kamala Harris’ visit to Charlotte today, please consider the following statement from the Republican National Committee
Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI) effectively admitted on Wednesday that she only wears a mask when there are cameras around, which undercuts a number of public statements she has made about the importance of wearing masks.
In a letter a few weeks ago, State Auditor Beth Wood insisted that applications to purchase the Bald Head Island ferry (System) by the Village of Bald Head Island (Village) and the Bald Head Island Transportation Authority (Authority) not be included in the December Local Government Commission (LGC)

HbAD2

So far this year, Gov. Cooper has pledged over $930.7 million in tax incentives to just 22 corporations, including $845.8 million over four decades to Apple

HbAD3

 
Back to Top