RALEIGH — The North Carolina General Assembly unanimously passed two COVID-19 response packages on Saturday, May 2, approving more than $1.5 billion of funding relief for critical needs and extensive policy measures to help local communities address the crisis as the state safely reopens its economy.
On May 4, Governor Roy Cooper signed the bills the lawmakers passed to help bring financial relief to the state.
“I am signing into law two critical relief bills that will provide assistance to families, schools, hospitals and small businesses as our state battles COVID-19,” said Gov. Cooper. “There is more work ahead of us, and I hope the spirit of consensus behind these bills will continue.”
The compromise spending plan is a significant investment laying the groundwork for moving the state forward and responding to the economic and human impacts of this pandemic, according to a release from State House Speaker Tim Moore.
This commitment goes above and beyond previous requests and includes funding for testing, tracing, immediate recovery needs and increasing access to broadband and electronic devices to access remote learning opportunities.
North Carolina leaders issued a joint bipartisan statement following the passed legislation:
“This legislation puts North Carolina on the right path to recovery,” Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue (D-Wake), House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and House Minority Leader Darren Jackson (D-Wake) said. “For weeks, our citizens have been anxious about their future because of this virus, and today we can assure them that action is being taken to allay their concerns.”
The bill addresses both immediate needs, like purchasing personal protective equipment and expanding digital infrastructure needs, and long-term research and development to fight the virus. It supports testing for uninsured patients, rural and underserved communities, and behavioral health services.
“This recovery and relief bill is the product of bipartisan collaboration to help North Carolinians return to their daily lives,” Sens. Berger, Blue, Speaker Moore, and Rep. Jackson added. “Our citizens have stepped up to support each other during this unprecedented time, and now we must look ahead to getting everyone healthy and back to work safely.”
House Bill 1043 Pandemic Response Act appropriates more than $1.5 billion in relief funding for North Carolina’s medical providers, education communities, and broadband connectivity.
Senate Bill 704 Covid-19 Recovery Act provides tax relief, streamlines unemployment access and makes policy reforms in education, healthcare and government operations to assist North Carolinians through the pandemic and economic shutdown.
Select appropriations from the relief package include:
Broadband Connectivity: $9 million
Support for Education Communities:
- School Nutrition — $75 million
- Summer Learning Programs — $70 million
- K-12 Connectivity — $11 million
- K-12 Devices for Students — $30 million
- Student Health — $10 million
- Community Colleges — $25 million
- UNC Flexibility Funding — $44.4 million
- Assistance for Private Colleges — $20 million
Department of Health and Human Services:
- Testing, Tracing and Trends — $25 million
- Enhanced Public Health Capacity — $20 million
- Enhanced Behavioral Health — $20 million
- Rural and Underserved Communities — $50 million
- Food, Safety, Shelter, Foster and Child Care: $27.5 million
- Financial Support for Assisted Living Facilities: $25 million
N.C. Medical School Research Fund:
- UNC School of Public Health/NC Collaboratory: $29 million
- Duke University Human Vaccine Institute: $15 million
- ECU Brody School of Medicine: $15 million
- Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine: $6 million
- Wake Forest University Health Services: $20 million
North Carolina Hospitals:
- Rural Hospitals: $65 million
- Teaching Hospitals Relief Fund: $15 million
- General Hospital Relief Fund: $15 million
Local Government Assistance: $150 million
Providers and Emergency Responders:
- Enhanced PPE and Sanitation Supplies: $50 million
- Association of Community Health Centers: $5 million
- Prescriptions for Indigent and Uninsured: $1.5 million
- Free and Charitable Clinics: $5 million
Small Business Assistance Loans: $125 million
State Government Operations: $85 million
Transportation Operations: $300 million
Tourism Industry Support: $5 million