This past week’s failed efforts by the N.C. Legislature to reign in Governor Cooper’s heavy handed and autocratic use of the state’s Emergency Management Act showed that partisan politics trumps good governance.

The legislature convened for a special session Wednesday attempting to override Cooper’s veto of several bills, three of which dealt with his closure mandate associated with his authority as described in the Emergency Act, and one dealing with the security of churches which would allow concealed carry at churches that also house school facilities. All four override efforts failed with Democrats siding with the governor.

Senate Bill 105, “An Act to Clarify the Expiration of a State of Emergency” was by far the most important legislative issue of the day. This bill would have corrected several major flaws in the Emergency Management Act that should concern all citizens and business owners in the state.

The current Emergency Powers Act allows the governor to circumvent actions requiring concurrence from the other elected executive branch officials. The governor, according to the current legislation, should seek concurrence of the Council of State, which consists of the 10 statewide executive branch elected officials. But failure to get this concurrence does not restrict his use of the emergency act. The majority of the council are Republicans and they have complained, correctly, that the governor who is a Democrat, has not sought their advice or concurrence of his actions.

An additional flaw in the current act is the absence of a sunset or time restriction on the use of the governor’s emergency powers. As the current legislation is written there is no established rule for how long the state of emergency may remain in force and there is no clear description of what justifies lifting of the state of emergency. The absence of a timeline and clarity of the goal of the emergency action allows the governor to continue the state of emergency actions for as long as he deems necessary without having to justify his decision to the legislature or the state’s residents and businesses.

SB 105 would have fixed these obvious flaws by restricting the governor’s unilateral emergency authority to only 48 hours if the emergency area is statewide. Any state of emergency extending beyond 48 hours would require the Council of State’s concurrence and only for 30 days at a time.

Governor Cooper, obviously attempting to keep control of as much executive power possible without having to justify his actions, vetoed the SB 105. He erroneously argued that “Placing additional bureaucratic and administrative obligations on the declaration of a state of emergency is a substantial change in the law, frustrates executive branch officials’ ability to quickly and efficiently respond to such an emergency by requiring the concurrence of officials with limited involvement in managing the response, and would risk diverting focus from responding to such an emergency."

SB 105 does not represent a substantial change in the law, it clarifies the role of the Council of State and adds a timeline for action.

Contrary to Cooper’s complaint, the proposed senate bill would allow the governor to take immediate action as necessary but then, in the cases of statewide mandates, require consultation with the Council of State. Working with the Council of State does not add to his duties, in fact he should be consulting with the council members weekly to advise them of his plans and actions. Since these elected executive branch officials are often tasked with fulfilling legislative action, consulting with them will not add bureaucratic burdens but instead facilitate the process.

As for his complaint about placing “administrative obligations” on his actions, he is correct. The governor does not hold all the power in the state. He shares that with the legislature which is articulated in the state constitution and as such he is obligated to report to the legislature which represent the state’s voters and residents.

This very important and needed clarification bill failed because of the partisan divide in the legislature. The Republican caucus supported the bill while the majority of Democrats voted against passing the measure, thereby missing the number of votes needed for an override.

Considering the continued impact of the governor’s heavy handed restrictions on citizens and businesses in the state, it will be interesting to see how the Democrat legislators who voted to support the governor’s veto, respond to their constituents. It is obvious that the failure to allow for more oversight, a defined time line and clarity on the process is an indication that those legislators supporting the governor feel he is their primary constituent and not the voters who sent them to Raleigh in the first place.

(26) comments

kenwood

Friday the county lost one of ours to the deadly virus, bringing the total count of county deaths from the disease to 4. As sad as it is, particularly for the families of those who have passed away, the death toll, the hospitalizations, would have been much higher had not the state and our governor put restrictions in place to help stem the tide of this dreadful disease. And more than likely even higher had the governor ceded to the urgings of this page. Even with the restrictions in place North Carolina along with Florida and California set record number of hospitalizations this past week. More than 131,000 Americans have died from the disease with over 3.2 million hospitalizations. Figures / data the good editor continues to ignore because they conflict with his blind support of a president who himself refuses or is unable to face reality. How many deaths, how many cases, will it take for some who for political reasons choose to keep their heads firmly stuck in the sand to wake up and acknowledge the seriousness of the situation?

sonsofPepe

People should get their heads out of the sand and realize this is one of the if not the largest hoaxes pulled off in attempt to hurt Trump's re-election chances by ruining the economy over something that amounts to a bad flu strain, not to mention pushing authoritarianism on us. Be sure to vote the socialists/statists such as Cooper out in November!

CARTERETISCORRUPT

Let us see, if there were restrictions on vehicular traffic, on alcoholic beverage use, possession and purchase; especially among known alcoholics, the death rate would exponentially drop on our roadways. Then, if we mandated all elderly wear rubber baby buggy bumpers, the death rate due to fall would drastically drop. This covid madness is based on hysteria, sober comparisons to other more deadly daily events are ignored, and comparisons not made. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow. The Wuflu is one factor, as are suicides, homicides, falls, drug and alcohol death, way too many medical mistake deaths, and just plain stupidity. What it comes down to is to what degree are we going to let fear reign our lives. Democrats love fear; it is their favorite tool to manipulate the population. And we fall for it every single time. Personally, I live my life as seen fit. I have but one. The idea of democrat infestation is unacceptable.

SgtRock1968

There are, in fact, considerable restrictions on vehicular traffic, and on alcoholic beverage use and possession. There is a considerable body of law addressing both of those. There is a considerable amount of funding and effort expended in enforcing those restrictions. There is a considerable effort - and there has been for decades - in vehicular safety through design and function. There is a National Transportation Safety Board that addresses vehicular safety, highway engineering, and a host of other vehicular safety issues. Because of all this, the death rate on our highways is far less than it would otherwise be. Your comparison of COVID with those fatality modalities is either disingenous or deliberately obfuscatory; it's apples and oranges.

The same is true of the rest of your examples, including the rather fatalistic observation that 'we are not guaranteed a tomorrow.' While that is on the face of it quite true, if we follow your reasoning then we may as well dispense with the NTSB, the National Safety Council, working toward constructing safer vehicles, as well as do away with the ABC, traffic law enforcement, DUI enforcement and all the rest.

As for suicides, we have a significant, and growing, awareness of that problem and suicide prevention measures.

Homicides? What kind? How much effort do we as a society expend in trying to prevent various types of homicide, especially those related to domestic violence and child abuse?

None of the 'deadly daily events' you describe are 'ignored'. Quite the contrary; a good part of our country's resources are dedicated to dealing with those events.

You may live your life 'as you see fit' but you do it within the constraints of our society.

None of this has anything to do with 'Democrats' or 'Republicans.' Which leads me to a bit of a non sequitur - do you allow Democrats in your church? Or does membership require registering as a Republican?

Osprey

We all agree that it is vital to reopen the economy. But to call this a conspiracy to get rid of trump is ridiculous. So many have died all over the world. It is very unlikely the people of Brazil, Italy, and dozens of other nations are all involved in an anti Trump conspiracy.

CARTERETISCORRUPT

The conspiracy isn't about virus in other countries; it is about the hysteria and political dribble coming out of the wufu virus. The democrats spare no effort to spin, twist, bend or lie in order to harm our president. Any person who cannot see that fact is either asleep, dead, or a democrat. Either way, the wufu inside the United States is being used for political gain; and damage to our country. Sorry, Osprey, but you missed on this one.

mpjeep

Science and data? Our democratic governor and Dr Mandy are picking and choosing when to use science and data.

These folks only consider the make-up of our state to be Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

Carteret County has approximately 70,000 residents with 135 known cases of Covid-19. Not too bad, so why are we so locked down? Politics seems to be the answer.

We have to reopen to keep from drowning. The Governor doesn't want protestors to socially distance. Why not? Politics, again, seems to be the answer.

I'm all for face masks and distancing, but everything must open with these provisions. If not, we may never recover no matter who the next president is.

Vote November: Dan Forest!

Osprey

CIC I didn't "miss" on this. Trump/Pence have made the covid political as much as the Dems have. There is no argument here that the left has played it to its fullest but let us not overlook our Presidents actions and policy or lack of which has been all Political.

klacy

Republican Governor of Oklahoma tests positive for COVID-19 after attending Tulsa rally. Republican Governor of Alabama issues state wide mask order. Relative of Ex chief of staff Mulvaney tests positive. Guess they are all part of the conspiracy.

drewski

Oh, the irony in this partial editorial sentence " partisan politics trumps good governance." The Lt Gov, has been nothing but obstructionist to good governance and common sense in his quest for the governors seat. His latest anti mask quotes are a perfect example. 6 months into a pandemic our president finally wears a mask for his photo op at walter reed. Working and shopping in carteret county I see perhaps 1 in 10 people wearing masks. eastern carolina has largely been spared the worst of this. I pray that continues. Looking at Brazil, who's leader mimics our own presidents views and actions, you don't have to be Nostradamus to see whats coming. For those who keep calling it a bad flu. A good flu year is 12 k dead a bad flu yr is 60k dead. Several other posters have suggested people are sticking their heads in the sand. I submit its not sand where their heads are.

klacy

The good editor is playing Monday morning/arm chair quarterback behind the comfort and safety of a desk. I’m reminded of the story regarding Lincoln’s scathing letter to one of his Generals that he never sent, saying who am I to judge a General on the battlefield from behind my desk. Governors and Mayors of both parties across this country are at the tip of the spear In the battle against the virus, while our President has given up.

David Collins

The President has not given up . He is not a medical professional and is resoundingly criticized when he does say anything . Best to leave this issue to the professionals, they can muck things just fine by themselves . You have no idea of how many issues he has to deal with every waking day and either do I . That is , in my opinion , ‘why with 325 million .people in the

SgtRock1968

I agree that the president is not a medical professional; that is made abundantly clear with every comment he makes about this disease and all that is related to it.

He should keep silent about that of which he knows nothing, and allow this nation's body of medical professionals - which is significant, highly competent, and capable - handle it.

Of course,if the man kept silent about that of which he knows nothing, it would extend far beyond COVID-19, and we would have a deafening silence from the Oval Office. What a blessing that would be, wouldn't you agree?

As for him not having 'given up,' I respectfully but very strongly disagree. It is clear to even the most casual observer that the man is lost in space, has no idea what he is doing, and has, indeed, given up dealing with the virus in favor of other political machinations. We the people are suffering and dying as a result.

David Collins

Would like to continue .

in the country no one can find anyone else to run for President other than Biden and Trump . It is a tough job and your whole life is open to scrutiny as well as your family . Who wants that ? The pay and hours are hardly worth it as well . Just think of the flaming idiots he has to deal with every day . UGH ! Far better man than I .

klacy

I agree about our choice, or lack thereof, this November.

David Collins

Suffering and dying because of Trump ? Come on now , we in the US are so spoiled . We know not what real sufferings is . Folks in communist/socialist , dictatorial countries know what real suffering is , we equate a bit of inconvenience and call it suffering . Listening to our news media and reading our news papers is as close to real suffering as it gets here . Our poor live like kings compared to those in the true ... countries of the world . Sadly , the way things are going here with all the anarchy towards our way of life , aided by the crop of lefty socialist/communist teachers and politicians that we have allowed to flourish in the name of free speech/ideas , we may soon find out . The social misfits are having a relative field day and with impunity as well . Hopefully the tide will turn and rule of law will prevail . So much is riding on the November elections and I hope we get things right .

(Edited by staff.)

Sleepwalker

Trump left the virus decisions up to individual governors with the caveat that “ if you need help, call us”. That is about as smart as it gets. It could have been national lockdown...with the Oval Office calling the plays for EVERYONE. As far as the trump bashing...I’ll take the non-politician orange dude over biden any day...just like clinton in the last election. Unless you think we had all the wrong people working... put the minority’s back on welfare and give the jobs to illegal immigrants and other countries. What did obama say about the miserable gdp and unemployment ...something like this is the new normal, get used to it.

Benelli

What a joke. If Dan Forest was gov. He’d have opened wide just like South Carolina which beach communities are now a COVID cesspool. Eastern NC has been largely spared so far, but that is no guarantee that continues. And no the president could not have “locked down” the country, quarantine power is left to the states. He could have however used the time to speed up production of N95 masks so everyone can get back to work safely until it’s over. Instead lots of whining, playing the victim, typical behavior of someone born into privilege who has sacrificed nothing.

mpjeep

You are kidding, right, Bene?

I live on Atlantic Beach. You think it is shut down? Wrong! Probably a record number of folks here, mostly out of state, so their covid-19 numbers won't show up in NC.

Our Mayor decided to keep everything open. Not a good idea, probably. Only whining I see is from you.

David Collins

I wish to differ Benelli , how soon we forget he did just that . Ventilators by Ford and others . Now we are swimming in a sea of ventilators and exporting them as well . Sadly , the makers of masks and gowns as well as other necessary equipment was handed off to China and others to save money . Trump warned us about the danger of that decision made by prior administrations but he was branded a China hater . How has that worked out ? He is trying to ramp up manufacturing here but it takes time and the manufacturers often sell to the highest bidders in times of need . Yeah , it is all his fault but good try .

drewski

Mr Collins, as I remember the timeline early in the pandemic we sent tons of maks and gowns to China. Then he put kushner in charge of supply lines and that was/ is a clusterfrack. The trump claim " the cupboard was bare" after 3.5 yrs in oval office is pathetic. Trumps desire to erase everything obama including pandemic response team, is what led us to this current condition. Just yesterday the surgeon general implored everyone to wear masks. 7 months in to pandemic. What a different situation we might be in if the president implored all americans to wear a mask, pull together and beat this thing. Love trump or hate him, as chief executive he dropped the ball on this.

David Collins

Opening wide does result in more initial cases but as we are seeing in NY after the initial burn heard immunity develops and the numbers drop significantly . What Mr. Forest might have done is just guessing at best and a cheap shot as well . All this does beg the question , what would have Benelli done ?

drewski

my reading suggests herd immunity might never be possible as the antibodies are gone after about 60 days. To reach herd immunity 70%+ must be exposed. Thats quite a pile of corpses even at a 1% fatality rate.

David Collins

Yeah , I get it . Now , what actual percentage have died from this wuhan flue . Pretty darned small , compared to the annual flue deaths . Buttttt , media hype does sell . Political hype , even more .

David Collins

Our government stockpiles all sorts of stuff . Sadly it often fails to rotate this stockpile and in the case of masks and the like the elastic ear loupes dry rotted rendering them useless . Sending aid to China was a nice gesture but then no good deed goes unpunished . Sort of like Obama sending Iran that airplane load of cash in the dead of night . That was also a nice gesture . Wasn’t it ?

drewski

.... My comment was about the chief executive dropping the ball on the pandemic response. Your response was to explain that the empty cupboard that trump claimed was actually bad elastic, then a quick deflection to obama, with the added melodrama of " IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT". It was widely reported on and public knowledge at the time. Iranian assets frozen in 1979 returned to Iran as part of nuclear deal. Please explain why President trump is demanding a payroll tax cut and cutting cdc test and trace funds? No need to mention obama,hillary, or soros.

(Edited by staff.)

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