in-ter-im (noun). The intervening time. In this case, the weeks between the September adjournment of the 2019-2020 session and the first meeting of a newly-elected legislature on January 13.
The legislature may be out of session, but I’m still busy answering email messages and calls from constituents, talking with graduate students enrolled in their first policy course, and having virtual meetings with stakeholder groups to discuss bill ideas for the 2021 long session. If you need assistance with unemployment claims, DMV issues or other matters that involve state government, Suzanne and I are here to help. Contact us at email@example.com or 919-733-5602.
Before We Left
Because we adjourned ‘sine die’ (to a date certain) and neither party has the 72 votes needed to call a special session, only Governor Cooper can call us back into session if needed. I mention this because I’ve heard from a few constituents concerned about the possibility of a ‘lame duck’ legislature upending the electoral process, among other actions. There is no opportunity in 2020 for this to happen.
In the waning days of the short session, just before passing the adjournment resolution, the legislature appropriated the remainder of North Carolina’s $1.1 B federal CARES Act funds in HB 1105, Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0.
Included in HB 1105 was creation of the Extra Credit Grant program, providing $335 for an eligible individual if the individual has at least one or more qualifying children. The purpose of the money is to help families with virtual schooling and child care costs.
The NC Department of Revenue will award this grant to eligible individuals who reported at least one qualifying child (age 16 or younger) on their 2019 state individual income tax return. Spouses who filed a joint return count as one individual. If you filed a 2019 state tax return, you do not need to take any action to receive the grant.
North Carolina Launches Programs to Help Small Businesses Disproportionately Harmed by COVID-19
***North Carolina minority and women-owned businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic now have access to guidance and $12 million in grants to help them weather the crisis. A new grant program, RETOOLNC, is available to help North Carolina Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms impacted by COVID-19.
The state’s Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses will offer guidance on business development through the RETOOLNC program and administer $12 million in funding to assist in the economic recovery of state-certified minority and women-owned businesses. Access to capital remains the number one challenge for small businesses. RETOOLNC will provide eligible HUB and DBE firms an opportunity to receive up to $25,000 in grant funding.
North Carolina certified HUBs and DBEs must meet the following criteria to receive funding from the RETOOLNC program:
- Have been operating for one year
- Be certified with NCHUB or NCDOT DBE
- Be an independent business located within North Carolina
- Be a business with up to 50 employees or less (including but not limited to, sole proprietorships, home based businesses, LLCs, and independent contractors)
- Not have annual revenues exceeding $1,500,000
- Not be delinquent on North Carolina State income taxes
- Not have any active bankruptcies or tax liens
To learn more about the RETOOLNC initiative, visit the NC HUB Office website. HUB firms interested in receiving state certification can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 984-236-0148 for assistance.
***Businesses that experienced extraordinary disruption and were unable to open due to COVID-19 may be able to get assistance through the Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief (MURR) Program at www.nccommerce.com/murr. The MURR program can provide up to $20,000 in relief funds per qualifying business location. Business applicants from certain industry sectors that have not been able to operate during the COVID period may apply for up to two of their business locations. Experienced business counselors at Business Link North Carolina are also available to offer guidance at (800) 228-8443.
Eligible applicants include:
- Amusement parks
- Banquet Halls (with catering staff)
- Bars, taverns, night clubs, cocktail lounges
- Bingo parlors
- Bowling alleys/centers
- Dance halls
- Indoor fitness and recreation centers
- Motion picture/movie theaters (except drive-ins)
Learn more about the MURR program and submit an application at NC Commerce.
Flu Season is Upon Us. Get Your Shot
The most effective way to protect you and your family from the influenza virus is to get a flu vaccine each year. When the viruses in the vaccine are a good match with that year’s circulating viruses, it can reduce the risk of contracting flu by 40-60%. Even when the match isn’t great, being vaccinated can help decrease the severity of the flu if you do get it.
Schedule a visit with your health care provider or visit https://vaccinefinder.org/ to find a convenient location near you to get a flu shot.
In addition to following CDC-recommended precautions and practicing the 3 Ws to prevent viral spread, it’s important to pay attention to your physical and emotional health. Months of uncertainty, loss of control over many aspects of our lives, and constant media bombardment can take a toll. Don’t put off routine physical exams, follow-up of chronic illnesses and immunizations. Check out these Wellness Resources from NCDHHS for assistance maintaining or regaining emotional balance.
The results of the November 3rd election and the departure of several legislators who decided against reelection (or lost a primary) guarantee that the 2021-2022 legislature will have many new faces. I hope that I will continue to have the honor of representing District 41 and serving all the citizens of our state.