September 4, 2020

The NC General Assembly passed a $1.1 billion “Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0” bill Thursday which now goes to Governor Cooper’s desk for signature.

The bill helps those receiving unemployed benefits and addresses other needs, and assists parents dealing with the uncertainty and problems the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to educating their children. The bill includes $440 million that will go to every North Carolina household with at least one child in the form of a one-time check of $335.

State Senator Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth, said about the bill: “Parents are facing an unexpected financial burden from school closures. Expenses like child care, supplemental learning materials, lost wages, and more are adding up….The Republican-controlled legislature voted to provide those parents with some relief.”

In spite of Governor Cooper’s budget proposal to cut Opportunity Scholarships, the Reform Majority chose to “expand access to Opportunity Scholarships and private school vouchers to a greater percentage of lower-income families.”  Reform Majority leaders have described how important Opportunity Scholarships are for parents to have the choice to put their children in better learning environments at private schools with all-in-person learning.

Since the bill also ignored Governor Cooper’s Medicaid expansion mantra, it will be interesting to see if the Governor sharpens up the Veto pen and sends this bill back to legislators like he has often before. The votes for the COVID relief bill were not close – with the Senate voting for the bill 44-5, with five Democrats voting against it, and the House voting for it 104-10.

Stay tuned…