A bill to allow communities to conduct July Fourth parades in spite of the current executive order prohibiting mass gatherings of more than 25 people has been sent to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.
The legislation, co-authored by state Sen. Jim Burgin (R-District 12) of Harnett County, known as House Bill 686, exempts Fourth of July-related celebration activities from Cooper’s shutdown orders. State Sen. Warren Daniel (R-District 46) of Burke County, co-authored the bill with Burgin.
“The signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 turned the course of history away from monarchy and toward self-governance,” Burgin said. “That our government may now forbid the traditional celebration of that freedom is a cruel irony. I urge Gov. Cooper to sign this bill.”
In part, the bill would make Independence Day activities such as parades and fireworks displays exempt from Cooper’s current executive orders.
“The governor shall not prohibit parades, or fireworks displays discharged in accordance with Article 54 of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, scheduled to occur between 5 p.m. on July 1 and 5 p.m. on July 10,” the legislation reads.
Daniel issued a statement expressing concern about the governor’s past actions when it comes to mass gatherings.
“I have a difficult time accepting Gov. Cooper will permit rioters to loot our cities, but will forbid law-abiding citizens to celebrate the founding of our country,” Daniel said. “I hope Gov. Cooper signs this bill into law quickly.”
In addition to prohibiting Cooper from halting parades, the legislation also prohibits local and county administrations from denying or revoking a “reasonable permit for a parade, firework display discharged in accordance with the same statues during the same July 1 to 10 timeframe.”
The town of Benson is scheduled to hold its annual fireworks display on July 4. Town officials have canceled everything related to the event with the exception of the fireworks, which will be set off from the usual location on Tart-McLamb Road.
The Daily Record reached out to Cooper’s office via email for a statement regarding the bill. No response has been received.
Rick Curl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-230-2037.