Republicans in the North Carolina State House say two years is enough.
All 69 Republican state representatives, including Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) and Rep. John Faircloth (R-Guilford), signed a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper this week calling on Cooper to end the COVID-19 state of emergency and allow the state to move forward in a more normal fashion.
The letter notes that March 10 marks the two-year anniversary of Cooper’s Executive Order No. 116 that declared the COVID-19 state of emergency and states, “After two years of executive orders that shut down businesses, restricted gatherings, closed schools, and mandated masks, the people of North Carolina are more than ready to move on.”
The letter states that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it is dropping the universal indoor mask recommendations and “school districts and local governments across our state are ending their mask mandates.”
It also notes that in the past month new cases have dropped from an average of about 22,000 to about 3,000 and statewide hospitalizations are down from 5,089 a month ago to 1,618 and states, “As these key metrics continue to fall and vaccines remain readily available to those who want one, there is no justification for a continued state of emergency.”
The letter continues, “Simply put, there is no emergency. Yet, there is still no plan or exit strategy set forth by your Administration outlining how and when the nearly two-year state of emergency can be lifted.”
The state of emergency gave Cooper vast power to make decisions such as closing restaurants and bars unilaterally without any input from the legislature or other elected officials. Early in the state of emergency it was thought that Cooper had to have a consensus of the Council of State, made up of the 10 statewide elected officials in state government. However, Cooper’s legal team found a way around that provision and the courts upheld Cooper’s ability to make decisions unilaterally.
After several attempts the Republican led legislature included reforms to the state of emergency powers in the state budget bill which Cooper signed. However, the provisions in that bill won’t go into effect until 2023.