Starting in 2023, no more never-ending states of emergency 

Gov. Roy Cooper is pictured in this Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 file photo, in Raleigh. (AP Photo/Bryan Anderson, File)

RALEIGH — A provision in the state budget changes how emergency orders by the governor will be handled. 

Per provisions in the 2021-22 budget signed by Gov. Roy Cooper, statewide state of emergency orders now will be limited to 30 days with extensions to such an order requiring concurrence by the Council of State. If concurrence is received, the state of emergency would expire at the 60-day mark unless the General Assembly decides to act. 

For certain orders that are statewide, the provision states that the state health director or a local health director can issue an order that lasts for “no more than seven days” and can only receive an extension with approval from the Council of State.  

During the pandemic, Cooper issued dozens of executive orders, one of which was an order issued March 10, 2020. That order lasted 888 days before Cooper finally rescinded it. 

The governor’s announcement he would end that statewide order followed public statements by legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle that the emergency order should end. 

Over the course of the pandemic, Cooper consistently insisted the ongoing statewide order was necessary to “draw down federal funds.” North State Journal could find no evidence to validate that claim and the governor’s office did not respond to requests for clarification.  

Over the last few years, lawmakers had tried twice to bring an end to Cooper’s statewide COVID emergency order but to no avail as the governor vetoed both attempts. Both bills had language requiring concurrence from the Council of State. 

In July 2021, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 105, the Emergency Management Act, which Cooper promptly vetoed. An override of the veto in the Senate failed by a vote of 26-21 down party lines. 

That same year in October, the General Assembly passed House Bill 264 to rein in Cooper’s long-running state of emergency order as it passed the 600-day mark. Cooper vetoed that measure as well.  

About A.P. Dillon 834 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_