On March 10, 2020 N.C. Governor Roy Cooper unilaterally enacted a state of emergency in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nineteen months later that declaration remains in force without any end in sight. This is an unconstitutional overreach on Cooper’s part that should have a means of legislative oversight.

On Monday Gov. Cooper vetoed House Bill 264 “Emergency Accountability Act” passed by the legislature, that sets more detailed procedures for the declaration of a state of emergency and establishes a process for its end. Currently the legislation is open ended, requiring only that the governor seek concurrence with his council of state to include all nine of the other state elected officials- Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, Treasurer, State School Superintendent, Attorney General, and commissioners of agriculture, labor and insurance.

Gov. Cooper’s veto did not come as a surprise. He obviously appreciates authority, especially when that authority is solely in his hands, so of course he was expected to veto the bill. Because the bill was passed on partisan lines, he knows that as long as the Democrat caucus continues to support him, the veto will lack the super majority for a legislative override.

Since Cooper’s March 10, 2020 declaration, made without the approval of the Council of State, he has not sought nor accepted that body’s recommendation as to how to handle response to the pandemic, instead making unilateral decisions on what businesses can operate and under what conditions. Supposedly his primary, if not sole advisor has been Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services.

During this period the state has been controlled by a variety of executive orders- over 200. Many of the orders have been turned back by court order, but none the less they have restrained trade, and in some cases ruined businesses and by extension, lives.

Recognizing the dictatorial authority that the N.C. Emergency Management Act of 1977 has inadvertently provided to the governor, the legislature passed H.B. 264 that tempers the governor’s executive powers by setting limits on the length of time declarations of a state of emergency may last before further approval is needed by the Council of State.

In announcing his reason for the veto the governor took oblique credit for the improving health conditions across the state, “with lives saved and a strong economy because of statewide measures to protect public health under the Emergency Management Act.” His public statement totally ignored the success that resulted from the outstanding work by first responders, the medical community and the “warp speed” at which vaccines were created.

Not only did he side step the work of others, he went on to equate any efforts to seek concurrence as tantamount to political interference and that these decisions should stay with experts in public health and safety. He concludes that “emergency needs decisive, quick and comprehensive action, not bureaucracy and politics.”

In retrospect the governor over the past 19 months has made a political calculus not to seek concurrence with the council of state, in contravention of the state’s current statute, and instead has relied on bureaucrats that he appointed to administer his mandates.

As has been experienced with unilateral executive orders that have arbitrarily shut businesses while allowing others to operate unfettered, the public is very much at the mercy of one individual- the governor. There have been successful legal challenges of these executive orders but this has taken time and money from the very people, small business owners, who could least afford either.

As Rep. Keith Kidwell, ( R), Beaufort County, H.B.264’s chief state house sponsor, noted in response to the veto, the governor “is putting power and politics over the our constitution and what is good for our state.” He stated further, “The governor’s veto undermines our constitution, the balance of powers and the rule of law.”

He goes further in questioning the power invested in one person- the governor. This question is one that should concern legislators regardless of party affiliation. If the governor continues to wield this kind of power, their job is superfluous and in the end a waste of money.

Commenting on the length of the state of emergency declaration, Sen. Bill Rabon, (R ) Brunswick County, noted that, “There is no emergency-none- that lasts for nearly two years. At that point, it’s no longer an ‘emergency’- it’s the new status quo.”

(20) comments

Sleepwalker

Interesting way to look at it. A lot of these recent mandates gives credence to deblasios war on big sugary soft drinks. Hahaha just can’t make this stuff up.

noitall

"As Rep. Keith Kidwell, ( R), Beaufort County, H.B.264’s chief state house sponsor, noted in response to the veto, the governor “is putting power and politics over the our constitution and what is good for our state.” He stated further, “The governor’s veto undermines our constitution, the balance of powers and the rule of law.” SO DO SOMETHING. COOPER IS OPERATING OUTSIDE OUR CONSTITUTION. ARE YOU POWERLESS TO ACT. COOPER IS VIOLATING OUR RULE OF LAW. IMPEACH HIM.

quicksand

Is this from the same editor who is against adults using legal marijuana? The same editor who insists we are not smart enough and responsible enough to make those decisions for ourselves? The same editor who says “this thread is closed” but still publishes remarks from those they agree with?

drewski

Cooper the tyrant! Does not our form of govt contain a mech. To override a veto?

As far as the war on sugary drinks, that does sound ludicrous doesn't it? Then get a large coke at Hardee's, the giant qt +cup tapered to fit in an actual cup holder. Sugar meets the definition of a drug.

Then have a walk about at Walmart or the flea mall. See the effects of that potent yet common drug. Then just for giggles guess how much obesity costs the economy in health care and lost productivity.

Perhaps a tax on sugary drinks is not so crazy after all? Sugary food for thought?

kenwood

The good editor continues to make the deadly virus a political issue. His relentless attack on the governor's action to stem the tide is nothing but that. In a crises, definitive action is what's required, not political rhetoric. Think of Roosevelt, Churchill, King, and "D--n the torpedoes, straight ahead". Most of the good editors comments and quotes could easily have been used to describe the former president of the U.S. Didn't know that "d--n" used in a quote was a profanity.

David Collins

If the weed is legal , like alcohol , feel free to use it but not abuse it . Quite sure the editor could care less .

As far as modifying , edited by staff , goes , it is irritating when it alters what the poster is trying to say . But , always a but , the disclaimer allows it to happen even though I doubt the actual editor has a hand in it . Most editors wear too many hats to be on top of everything . Staff members are human and have their own agendas as well . Post at your peril . Just the way it goes .

quicksand

“Couldn’t care less” would be the remark you meant, but no-the editor clearly took a stand against adult’s choice to use marijuana. And I am not talking about altering the comments, but literally saying the thread was closed and then printing more replies they agree with…..the editor states they are for individual rights and smaller government, but only if he agrees with it….

Allowing another comment after the topic was closed was a glitch, not intentional. The web editors are staff, not the same as the editor of the News-Times.  -Web Editor

(Edited by staff.)

drewski

Glitches do happen, it is not uncommon for comments to be posted after a comment is closed. The ccnt like every other entity has terms of use. Roughly 35% of my comments are just not posted at all. Despite my best efforts to comply with the subjective terms of use. Certain words like " cult" are forbidden,even when that word is the best descriptor of specific behaviours.The terms of use are not applied even handedly. Far right wing posts are given way more lattitude.What I find most irritating is topics are closed virtually always leaving the the far right view as the final post. That defies the law of averages, and is a clear indicator of the web editors bias.

mpjeep

Actually, 75 percent of your comments should never get posted.

David Collins

The NewsTimes is a privately owned newspaper . If the editor/owner chooses to make a stand on a particular issue , so be it . Free speech extends to he/she or them , does it not ? Free speech does not encompass only what you , figuratively , believe . I fall in there as well . This practice is part of what has gone amiss these days . Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt me . True back then , true now . Phony outrage has run it’s course and is getting quite old/meaningless . Just drama . Out and out threats are a completely different animal .

Sleepwalker

Not disagreeing ski… prior to covid there would be many folks come to work hacking and coughing during cold and flu season. They would get belligerent when asked to go home before you get the whole darn place sick. Much like (many) smokers of the past that would make everyone miserable with their habit… see how that ended up. There’s lots and lots of people that can’t be left to make their own logical decisions. I don’t have any answers to this just questions and an unending amount of “what the…”

noitall

Those that cannot make logical decisions??? We must live by their rules???? Really. Good luck My answer is to go home and stay home. A few people coughing because of excess cigarette smoke is not a valid reason. Go home and stay there.

drewski

one answer is a *smart* financial war on behavior. Smoking has steadily declined, partly because of education partly because of taxation up north a pack of brand name smokes costs 13 bucks. States where weed is legal they have taxed it so high that there is still a lingering black market, states where it is legal to grow your own, not so much. Studies indicate that in colorado for instance marijuana use is actually down among youth since it became legal. take away that "naughty" incentive, tax it moderately and educate against it and you can and will see declines, but never elimination of unhealthy behaviors. That applies to sugar, alcohol and all the other foolish things people do.

David Collins

Don’t like the NT opinion forum , feeling picked on ? Go out and create your own opinion site , a site with no boundaries . Suspect you will soon learn why there are guidelines here . Look no further than the big 3 social media sites for guidance .

(Edited by staff.)

dc

Trump won! This is the Brandon admin.

noitall

Sleepwalker. This is not the nation's first pandemic. Polio for one Hiv for another. The gov has NO authority that is based on a few people coughing. Madness

noitall

Many of my comments as many of yours also, fall onside the verbal parameters of the current crisis narrative. THIS IS CENSORSHIP AND THIS PAPER IS AS GUILTY OF THIS A S ANY MEDIA OUTLET. IT IS A COWARDLY WAY TO EDRESS REAL PROBLEMS THAT THEY FEAR. SO THIS WILL NEVER SE THE LIGHT OF FREE PRESS, NOR WILL THIS PAPER CHECK THE YELLOW JOUNALISM SECTION THAT WE WHO COMMENT MUST CLICK OVER TO COMMENT. TERRIBLE.

dc

Think maybe we should elect a governor next time who hasn't been in politics and govt most of their life? "The latest Durham indictment is a big one" by Andrea Widburg. You want to talk about elected and unelected govt "officials" having the power to destroy? It runs rampant throughout and what can be done about it? Maybe elect somebody like Youngkin who has NOT been in govt forever? Let's see what the deep state tries to do to him.

the secret life of man

Mr.Editor,will you respond to your customers comments?

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive/condescending attacks on other users or goading them. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning.

(Edited by staff.)

Staff
webeditor

Discussion and incoming comments have veered off topic so comments are now closed.

Welcome to the discussion.

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive/condescending attacks on other users or goading them. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning.