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

Published 10:57 pm Friday, June 26, 2020

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North Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest informed Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper Thursday that he intends to sue over the way Cooper has imposed business restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forest wrote a letter arguing the governor has violated state law by issuing executive orders curtailing business without seeking concurrence from a group of elected officials known as the Council of State.

Forest, who’s running against Cooper in the November gubernatorial election, cites multiple times during the pandemic that Cooper issued executive orders without formal assent from a majority of the council. Cooper extended restrictions Wednesday on some businesses such as restaurants and retailers, while keeping other businesses such as bars and gyms closed.

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“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,” Forest said in a news release.

Forest asks Cooper to waive state law requirements so that outside counsel, rather than the state’s Democratic attorney general, can represent him.

Cooper spokeswoman Dory MacMillan issued a statement accusing Forest of playing politics during the pandemic.

“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,” MacMillan said.