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In Box: Senate advances bill to rein in governor’s emergency powers

This came into my email in box Wednesday afternoon, from Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press shop.

Raleigh, N.C. — The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Sens. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick), Jim Burgin (R-Harnett), and Carl Ford (R-Rowan) to rein in Gov. Roy Cooper’s emergency powers.

The measure, Senate Bill 346, would require the Council of State to approve a governor’s emergency declaration within 10 days. If the Council of State does not approve, then the emergency declaration expires.

The Council of State is a group of 10 statewide elected officers, including the Lt. Governor, Auditor, and Attorney General.

If the Council of State approves an emergency declaration, it may continue for up to 45 days without legislative authorization. For an emergency declaration to extend beyond 45 days, majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives must approve.

If the legislature does not vote to extend the declaration, then it expires after 45 days.

Sen. Rabon said, “North Carolina is one of only 15 states with no time limit on an emergency declaration. No single person should have unchecked authority to wield emergency powers for an indefinite period of time. It’s inconsistent with the basic idea of a representative democracy.”

The bill will now return to the Senate Rules Committee, which Sen. Rabon chairs, before potential consideration on the Senate floor.

Donna Martinez / Senior Writer and Editor

Donna came to the John Locke Foundation in January 2003 after freelance writing for Carolina Journal and contributing to projects for the North Carolina Education Alliance. He...