Governor Cooper signed two bills on Monday, and they are effective immediately. The North Carolina General Assembly approved a robust $1.6 billion COVID-19 relief package. The legislation entitled the “2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act” is comprised of two parts: House Bill 1043 (HB1043) and Senate Bill 704 (SB704). The total dollar amount does not account for the $1.2 billion in other federal funds already allocated to various state agencies, and the $3.5 billion that will be appropriated to North Carolina through the CARES Act.

Top-line Takeaways:

  • $125 million to small business loans distributed by the Golden LEAF Foundation
  • $95 million will be used to support rural and teaching hospitals; 
  • $85 million will go to universities for COVID-19 research and treatment; 
  • $75 million to sustain school nutrition programs that are feeding vulnerable families;  
  • $50 million is earmarked for the purchase and acquisition of PPE; 
  • $44 million each to the University of North Carolina System and the North Carolina Community College System to fund online summer school and to sanitize the university system’s campuses; 
  • $35 million to purchase computers for students and staff in K-12 public schools to aid in online learning; 
  • $25 million goes to expanding virus testing and tracing (a key component of the phased reopening benchmarks); 
  • $20 million to Wake Forest University for antibody testing; and  
  • Nearly $9 million for broadband internet enhancements. 

Additional highlights in the relief package include: 

  • Extends driver’s license and registration expiration deadlines; 
  • Interest accrued on income tax bills after April 15th is waived; 
  • Marriage licenses and notarizations can be carried out remotely during the pandemic;  
  • Modifies end-of-grade testing requirements for public schools; 
  • Adjusts the 2020-21 K-12 public school calendar; 
  • Allows pharmacists to administer a COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed; 
  • Adds liability protections for essential businesses and hospitals.