Advocacy Blog Thursday, June 18, 2020

Advocacy in Action: This Week in Raleigh and Columbia

The North Carolina General Assembly is moving full speed ahead with the Short Session. Sen. Phil Berger expects this current session could wrap up in the next 10 days. There is a growing sense that the NCGA will not meet in July and come back in August to finish up any remaining business. The South Carolina General Assembly continued their work on COVID-19 related issues. SCGA will gavel back into session next week to tackle a few pieces of legislative work.


NCGA:
Bond Referendum:
House Bill 1225: This bill is a $3.1 billion education and transportation bond, which is being led by Speaker Moore. $1.5 billion would go for      transportation related projects, $800 million would go towards K-12 public school construction, $600 million for UNC system construction, and $200 million for community college construction. This bill is moving rapidly through the House with bi-partisan support. This could head to the Senate as early as today.


Reshoring & Investment:
Senate Bill 848: This bill would appropriate $200 million in CARES act funding towards incentivizing new investment in North Carolina, creating a grant program modeled loosely after the paycheck protection program, and provide local governments with grants for infrastructure related projects. This bill is contingent upon federal guidelines allowing the use of CARES act funds. This is moving quickly through the Senate and will likely get a vote on the floor very soon.

  • o $50 million would fund grants equivalent to five years of a company’s franchise tax burden for new investment in 2020 or 2021; this would be first come, first serve.
    o $50 million would fund grants to existing North Carolina businesses and non-profits that kept at least 90% of their employees between March and May plus did not get a Paycheck Protection Program loan or a Golden Leaf loan. The grant amount may be up to two months of the eligible entity's average monthly payroll costs from the last year plus an additional 25 percent with a maximum grant of $500,000.
    o $100 million would help local governments with infrastructure projects and would take a similar approach as the One NC Grant program, but would not require a match from local governments.

Business Liability:
House Bill 118: The Senate is working to provide limited immunity protections for businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, and others from frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19. This bill is aiming to protect organizations that are acting in good faith and following the guidelines that have been established. This would expire six months after Executive Order 116 expires or is rescinded.


Broadband:
House Bill 1105: This bill would use $30 million in federal CARES act funding to expand the existing statewide GREAT program. The GREAT program provides grants to internet providers seeking to expand into underserved communities. If this bill becomes law, it would mean the NCGA has provided $39 million in total for additional funding for the GREAT program. The annual appropriation for the program is $10 million.


SCGA:
Liability Committees:
• The Senate Business Liability Subcommittee of Reopen SC Select Committee and the House COVID-19 Liability Protection Review Committee met this week to discuss liability protections for businesses. The committees have not coalesced around language yet, but will keep working towards finalizing a bill before they come back next week.


Senate Finance Committee:
H.5202: The Senate Finance Committee approved a spending bill that appropriates $1.2 billion of the $1.9 billion of CARES act funding. This bill will be on the floor next week.
      o $500 million for the Unemployment Trust Fund
      o $210 million for K-12 education including
             $160 million for starting school earlier than normal
             $50.7 million for summer learning camps
      o $82.2 for higher education
      o $50 million for broadband expansion

 

Posted by: Joe Bost, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs @ 12:00:00 am

 

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