Unbelievable, the COVID-19 emergency in North Carolina is almost over.
According to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, the emergency will be over on August 15.
So, on August 14 the state will still be in full blown emergency status and by August 15 the emergency will have completely gone away. That means that on August 15 the state will stop being ruled by the royal edicts of one man and return to being a republic, where elected officials other than Cooper have some say in how the state handles issues – like which businesses must close and which are allowed to stay open.
If anything says that the laws governing a state of emergency needed to be completely rewritten, it is the fact that legally the state is still in a state of emergency long after the vast majority of the residents of the state have returned to normal lives.
Cooper declared the state of emergency over two years ago, on March 10, 2020, and immediately ran into problems when he issued an executive order closing down all the bars and restaurants in the state on March 17. According to the way the law governing a state of emergency was being interpreted at the time, Cooper needed a majority of the Council of State to concur with his decision. The majority of the Council of State did not concur. Some members of the Council of State had the audacity to request that Cooper allow them to read the executive order before they made a decision.
The Council of State is made up of the 10 state government officials elected statewide. It includes the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, state auditor, superintendent of public instruction, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of labor and commissioner of insurance. The current Council of State has a six to four Republican majority.
Cooper issued the executive order without the concurrence of the Council of State and attorneys working for the governor’s office found a work around that allowed Cooper to issue executive orders during an emergency without the concurrence of anyone, and thus began all of the shutdowns and other statewide mandates from Cooper.
The state of emergency law has been amended and, beginning on Jan. 1, 2023, the governor will have to have the concurrence of the Council of State if the state of emergency lasts longer than 30 days, and after 60 days the state legislature has to agree to extend the state of emergency.
So it appears that the era of the state being run by royal edict will end on August 15.