State Rep. Jon Hardister, who is the House majority whip, said he thought the state legislature would “go into session within the next two weeks,” to pass legislation regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
Hardister said, “I feel confident about us coming up with a relief bill that has bipartisan support.”
Because of the coronavirus, Hardister said that the legislators were working by phone and email to get the issues worked out before they convened in Raleigh.
He said that the bills would still have to go through the proper committees and be passed by both the House and the Senate, but that the process was being streamlined so they could spend as little time as possible gathered in the legislative building.
Hardister said one change that would probably be made was the length of time legislators had to vote, which is usually about 15 or 20 seconds, but that these votes would probably be held open for an hour, so that legislators wouldn’t have to all be on the floor at the same time.
Hardister said that different options for helping people make it through the coronavirus were being considered. He said, “We’re considering all sorts of options. We’re looking at sending checks to people because we have the money to do that.”
North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell reported this week that the state currently has $1.2 billion in the “Rainy Day Fund,” $2 billion in the “Unspent Cash Reserves” and nearly $4 billion in the “Unemployment Trust Fund.”
Hardister said the legislators were also looking at tax deferments and providing more funding for hospitals and medical equipment.
The state already had a healthy surplus due to the robust economy and considered sending tax rebates to North Carolinians during the 2019 legislative session.