From the desk of Senator Joyce Waddell


Joyce Waddell

CHARLOTTE, NC - Short session at the General Assembly has begun. Traditionally short session is used only to offer amendments and adjustments to the Budget, and consider any bills that were passed by the Crossover Deadline. It is unusual to submit a new ‘regular’ bill that is not directly related to the budget during this Short Session.

May 22, 2020 Phase 2 of North Carolina's 3-phase reopening plan began.

Phase 2

•Lift Stay at Home order with strong encouragement for vulnerable populations to continue staying at home

•Allow limited opening of restaurants, bars and other businesses that can follow strict safety protocols (reduced capacity)

•Allowing gathering at houses of worship and entertainment venues at reduced capacity

•Increase in number of people allowed at gatherings

•Open public playgrounds

•Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and congregate living settings

•People should remember the 3 W’s when they leave home:

Wear a face covering

Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds at a time

Wait 6 feet apart from other people

Bills to Watch:

H 1066: Community College Funding

Funding for community college enrollment growth and for pay increase for community college employees.

$40.2 million for enrollment efforts

$62 million for a five percent pay raise for community college employees.

H 1071: School Connectivity

$4.6 million in recurring and $15 million in non-recurring funds from general fund to DPI for the School Connectivity Initiative.

S 733: UNC Capital Projects

$48.5 million in funding through special obligation bonds approved by the UNC Board of Governors;

$22 million for UNC-Chapel Hill Morehead Chemistry Lab HVAC improvements;

$6.5 million for UNC-Chapel Hill Campus Safety Upgrades;

$20 million for Western Carolina lower campus residence halls upgrades.

S 781: Freedom of Speech/Press/Religion

S 711: Spend MORE on Opportunity Scholarships

Opens eligibility to all NC students, eliminating the premise that this was targeted at low-income students and special needs students.

The bill calls for further increases in funding beginning in the 2020-21 school year. Majority leadership continue adding tax payer dollars to this chronically over-funded program. The program failed the spend $16 million of its available funding during the 2018-19 school year.

S 712: Protect Reopen NC Protestors

Reduces and eliminates violations to the Governor’s executive orders related to COVID-19;

Limits civil penalties to $25 for the first violation and $1 per day for each subsequent violation.

H 1059: Reopen NC Churches

Exempts religious organizations from Governor’s executive orders.

Governor may still impose occupancy limit of buildings that are located inside an emergency area and used as a place of worship to 20 percent.

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