My husband and I drove up to Raleigh today to attend a meeting of the House Rules Committee. The Committee was considering House Bill 264. In order for the Bill to be voted on by the entire House of Representatives, it has to be voted out of the Rules Committee. The Bill was voted out of the Committee on a majority voice vote.
The Bill is titled, “An Act to Clarify the Expiration of a State of Emergency and the Exercise of Certain Powers Under a State of Emergency and to Clarify the Abatement of Statewide Imminent Hazards.”
Basically the Bill simply requires the Governor (regardless of who the Governor is) to concur with the Council of State (the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Labor, Commissioner of Insurance, or any interim office or acting officer appointed in accordance with Section 7 of Article III of the State Constitution) in taking emergency actions. The Governor is required to keep documentation of the contact and response of each member of the Council of State.
Essentially this allows for more input from elected leaders in a time of emergency. It is similar to what would happen in a corporation if a major decision had to be made–the directors would work together toward a positive outcome.
The emergency management laws in North Carolina (and in most other states) were designed for a short-term emergency such as a flood, hurricane, forest fire, tornado, etc. The laws were not designed for an emergency like Covid-19, which has lasted for a year. This Bill simply makes sure that all of our elected leaders have a place at the table when solutions are being discussed.
The Bill will be heard on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday. It is my hope that it will pass. It is a good Bill for North Carolina.