Last week the North Carolina legislature passed Senate Bill 116, the “Get North Carolina Back to Work Act,” with bipartisan support. 

The bill would end the extra federal unemployment benefits that are in the American Rescue Plan.

Over half the states have passed similar legislation with the belief that the additional $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits was discouraging people from going back to work.

House Speaker Tim Moore said, “This bill is the way to restore strength in our economy, and finally move forward, to put this pandemic in the rear view mirror.”

Gov. Roy Cooper has had the bill on his desk since June 24 and so far has not signed it into law or vetoed it.

Thursday, July 1, the Republican House leadership put out a press release urging Cooper to sign the bill, noting that Cooper has vetoed more bills than any North Carolina governor in history and that Cooper had a habit of vetoing bills on Fridays.

House Majority Leader John Bell stated, “On top of vetoing the most bills in North Carolina history, the Governor has made it a pattern of doing so on a Friday afternoon in an attempt to bury the news heading into a weekend.  This is not leadership.  The polling is clear that on both sides of the aisle people want to end the extra federal unemployment benefits and get our state back to work.  Every day, I hear from local businesses who cannot find employees to fill open jobs.  Just yesterday, one announced they are closing their doors for good due to labor shortages.  I encourage the Governor to sign this bipartisan legislation without delay.”

In the press release, North Carolina Chamber President Gary Salamido stated, “At this decisive moment for our state, every day matters for the job creators struggling to find talent and for the parents and families looking for a feasible path back to work.  Senate Bill 116 provides the critical solutions we need to reinvigorate out workforce, reduce COVID-related childcare constraints on families to empower their return to a job, and end our dependence on federal programs created for a moment when jobs were not readily available across our state.”