Pandemic Relief Bills Filed in N.C. House as Legislative Session Opens with Social Distancing Rules

Raleigh, N.C. – Legislation developed by the state House Select Committee on Covid-19 was filed in the North Carolina General Assembly on Tuesday to provide relief funding and policy reforms for families, businesses, healthcare facilities, education campuses, and communities across all 100 counties.

Speaker Moore said the legislation filed Tuesday was the result of weeks of meetings by the House Select Committee on Covid-19’s bipartisan working groups, which convened remotely through the month of April to develop the proposals.
“Our remote committee process in this emergency produced robust, transparent proposals to help North Carolinians through the pandemic that provide policy reforms and funding to meet immediate needs in our local healthcare communities, education campuses, and regional economies,” Speaker Moore said Tuesday.
“These are unprecedented times for our state, but we prepared responsibly and will respond appropriately to support North Carolinians through the Covid-19 crisis.”
The state House approved H.R. 1044 Amend Rules/State of Emergency on Tuesday implementing new procedural guidelines for the chamber to comply with CDC social distancing rules.
The new House rules expand the voting window from 15 seconds to 40 minutes, allow questions to be submitted off the floor, allow caucus leaders to vote for designated members of their parties, permit same-day calendaring of bills given proper notice, and allow remote meetings of official committees.
Speaker Moore said the new House rules and legislation filed Tuesday would continue North Carolina’s preparations to partially reopen the economy safely, including plans initiated by the state to host a NASCAR race on Memorial Day Weekend.
Proposals filed in the North Carolina House on Tuesday include:
H.B. 1034 Small Business Emergency Loans would appropriate $75 million to the Golden Leaf Foundation for additional low-interest loans to North Carolina small businesses affected by the pandemic.
H.B. 1035 Education Omnibus/COVID-19 addresses testing waivers, school performance, student reading and retention, graduation requirements, school calendar and attendance, budget flexibility, class sizes, K-12 scholarships, education licensing requirements, tuition, fee and debt waivers for qualifying higher education students.
H.B. 1037 COVID-19 Health Care Working Group Policy Recs. increases access to medical supplies for the strategic state stockpile of personal protective equipment and testing supplies. It further addresses provider liability in the pandemic, enhanced federal Medicaid funding, temporary Medicaid coverage for Covid-19 testing and treatment, and telehealth coverage.
H.B. 1038 COVID-19 Health Care Working Group Funding Recs. appropriates funds to support capacity for public health services, additional Medicaid costs, provider enrollment changes, personal safety equipment, testing, and tracing. It further appropriates funds to support food, safety, shelter, and child care, targeted support for hospitals, and Covid-19 research in medical and public health schools.
H.B. 1039 COVID-19 Response Act – Economic Support provides tax and regulatory relief for families and businesses, makes changes to state unemployment law to increase access to benefits for displaced workers, and streamlines businesses’ approval process for those benefits to help pay claims more quickly.
H.B. 1043 Covid-19 Time Sensitive Matters addresses continuity of state operations by making various changes to state law like extending DMV deadlines, permitting emergency video notarizations and remote ID renewals, waiving powers of attorney rules in some circumstances, reclassifying security services, and facilitating the remote convening of local governments in compliance with open meetings laws.
State House committees began voting on the legislation Tuesday afternoon.  The House will continue its session on Wednesday.