In his letter, Forest alleged that Cooper’s statements made it “impossible” for him and other members of the State Council, a group of 10 elected officials, including the state attorney general and the secretary of state, to “fulfill our oaths. to comply with the laws. ” of North Carolina. ”
“The Emergency Management Act requires that you seek and receive the approval of the State Council before exercising the Governor’s most extensive emergency powers across the state,” Forest wrote in the letter.
Before issuing a March 17 executive order limiting restaurants to take-out and delivery, Forest wrote that Cooper turned to the council for support. But even though most members said “more discussion was needed,” Cooper “issued the order.”
Since then, Forest wrote in the letter, Cooper has not sought the council’s agreement before issuing subsequent executive orders.
“The North Carolina Constitution does not create a unitary executive, but disburses executive power throughout the State Council,” Forest wrote.
When asked whether other council members plan to sign the complaint, a Forest spokesman, Jamey Falkenbury, told CNN in an email that the lieutenant governor “felt it was better for him alone to file a lawsuit.”
In his letter, Forest asked Cooper to waive a requirement that would require him to be represented by the state attorney general to avoid a conflict of interest.
“There is no place for politics during a pandemic,” Dory MacMillan, the governor’s press secretary, told CNN in an email. “The Governor will continue to be guided by science and law as he works daily with public health experts to keep the North Carolinians safe.”
Forest runs against Cooper in the November governor’s election.
This story has been updated with comments from the Governor’s press secretary and from a spokesman for the lieutenant governor.