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Lt. Gov. Dan Forest to sue Gov. Roy Cooper over COVID-19 orders

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest announced Thursday plans to sue Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration over executive orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forest claims that Cooper’s orders were issued without consent of Council of State as required by law and violated the Emergency Management Act.

Forest (pictured above) is challenging Cooper in November’s gubernatorial race.

“I notified Gov. Cooper that, as a member of the Council of State, I will be suing his administration for violating the Emergency Management Act,” Forest said in a statement. “The Governor has repeatedly ignored the law, enacting mandates that selectively target the businesses and citizens of North Carolina without concurrence from a majority of the Council of State.”

Read Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s letter to Gov. Roy Cooper

Cooper has issued six executive orders since March 17 in regard to COVID-19 restrictions. Among the restrictions are stay-at-home orders and closing of businesses deemed non-essential.

Wednesday, Cooper issued an executive order that required most people to wear masks in public and extended Phase 2 of easing restrictions by three weeks until July 17.

“Your exercise of these emergency powers without the concurrence of the Council of State makes it impossible for me, as Lieutenant Governor, and all of the other members of the Council of State to fulfill our oaths to uphold the laws of North Carolina,” Forest said in a letter emailed to Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein and William McKinney, who is general counsel to the governor.

Forest also requested Cooper waive state law requirements that would have Stein represent him. Forest wants outside counsel since Stein had a role in drafting the executive orders.

In a statement issued by Dory MacMillan, who is the governor’s spokeswoman, “The governor will continue to be guided by science and the law as he works every day with public health experts to keep North Carolinians safe.”

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