Raleigh, N.C. – Legislation to direct over $1.7 billion of additional relief funds to North Carolina communities was filed in the state House on Monday and is expected to be advanced by lawmakers this week.
House Bill 196 2021 COVID-19 Response & Relief Act is sponsored by Rep. John Faircloth (R-Guilford), Rep. Dana Bumgardner (R-Gaston), Rep. Kyle Hall (R-Stokes), and Rep. Larry Strickland (R-Johnston). It directs over $600 million statewide for testing, tracing, and prevention needs.
The bill further allocates over $100 million to K-12 public school needs and provides $290 million for higher education emergency relief. It includes another $40 million to support summer learning programs in addition to education funds approved by the legislature last month.
State lawmakers previously provided nearly $2 billion in federal relief funds to North Carolinians through Senate Bill 36 COVID Relief Bill Modifications, including $1.6 billion to help local school districts safely reopen and $546 million for emergency rent relief.
House Bill 196 also provides funds for farms, fisheries, food banks, small business grants, broadband, summer school programs, mental health and substance abuse services, and upgrades to the NC COVID Vaccine Management System, among other allocations.
H.B. 196 further contains policy provisions that extend flexibility for notaries, video witness testimony, education requirements, and access to vaccines for pharmacies.
Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) released a statement:
“I appreciate budget leaders preparing this vital legislation that maintains the General Assembly’s commitment to addressing the most pressing needs of of North Carolinians as soon as possible this session,” Speaker Moore said Monday.
The House Appropriations Committee is expected to review the legislation on Tuesday.