Bill Summaries: S481 EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT REFORM ACT.

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  • Summary date: Apr 1 2021 - More information

    Amends the terms and definitions in GS 166A-19.3, which are applicable to Article 1A, North Carolina Emergency Management Act. Amends the term emergency so that it is an occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property requiring an immediate response as a result of (was, resulting from) any natural or man-made accidental, military, paramilitary, terrorism, weather-related, public health, explosion-related, riot-related, cause, or technological failure or accident. Adds that no matter how imminent or severe it may be, an ongoing threat persisting for more than six months is not an emergency and should be address through legislation. Adds and defines the term statewide emergency area as any emergency area applicable to two-thirds or more of the state's counties.

    Amends GS 166A-10.20 by amending the expiration of states of emergency declared by the Governor or NCGA so that when the emergency area is not statewide, the state of emergency expires when it is rescinded by the authority issuing it, and when the area is a statewide emergency area, the state of emergency expires 30 calendar days after issuance, unless extended by enactment of a general law.

    Amends GS 166A-19.22 to set states of emergency declared by a municipality or county to expire 30 calendar days after issuance, or when it is terminated by the issuing body. Allows a governing body that declared the state of emergency to petition the NCGA for an extension.

    Repeals GS 166A-19.23, which specified that a declaration issued pursuant to Article 1A triggers the prohibitions against excessive pricing during states of disaster, states of emergency, or abnormal market disruptions pursuant to G.S. 75-37 and G.S. 75-38..

    Amends GS 166A-19.30, which gives the Governor the power to impose prohibitions and restrictions in the emergency area during a gubernatorially or legislatively declared state of emergency, when the Governor has determined that local control of the emergency is insufficient to assure adequate protection for lives and property for the specified reasons, as follows. Now requires concurrence of the Council of State. Amends the instances under which the Governor can exercise this power to: (1) include when the legal control measures of the jurisdictions conflict or are uncoordinated to the extent that efforts to protect life and property are or will be hampered (no longer specifies that the area in which the emergency exists has spread across local jurisdictional boundaries) and (2) remove the reason of the scale of the emergency being so great that it exceeds the capability of the local authorities to cope with it. Adds that the powers under this statute supplement the Governor's emergency powers only to the extent necessary to allow the Governor to assume powers otherwise delegated to specific local authorities within the areas of the local authorities' jurisdiction. Provides that this does not give the Governor any additional power to impose prohibitions and restrictions through an executive order declaring a state of emergency that contains a statewide emergency area beyond the powers described in the statute, and that Council of State concurrence is still required before the Governor may issue statewide prohibitions and restrictions.

    Enacts new GS 166A-19.80 requiring all orders that bind, curtail, or infringe the constitutional rights of private parties to be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling public health or safety purpose. Requires the orders to be limited in duration, applicability, and scope. Defines constitutional rights as including: freedom of movement, the right to work and enjoy the fruits of one's labor, the right to vote in free and open elections, the right of assembly, the right to petition, religious liberty, freedom of speech and press, property rights, due process, equal protection, the right to have a jury trial, the right to keep and bear arms, all rights enumerated in Article I of the North Carolina Constitution, and all rights protected by the US Constitution against infringement by state government. Sets the process for challenging validity or application of an executive order issued by the Governor. Provides that to the extent that GS Chapter 166A or other State law grants the power to issue an executive order declaring a state of emergency that contains a statewide emergency area, only the Governor may issue orders that bind, curtail, or infringe constitutional rights in a nontrivial manner and such orders require concurrence of the Council of State.

    Amends GS 1-267.1 to require any challenge to the validity of or application of an executive order issued by the Governor to be filed in the Superior Court of Wake County and be heard and determined by a three-judge panel.

    Effective October 1, 2021.


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