On March 1, Senate Bill 37 made its way back to the General Assembly. The bill provides access to in-person learning for students in grades K-12. Governor Cooper vetoed Senate Bill 37 on Feb. 26. In Governor Cooper’s Objections and Veto Message, he stated the bill fell short of two critical areas. First, it allowed students in middle and high school to go back into the classroom in violation of NC Department of Health and Human Services and CDC guidelines. Second, it hindered local and state officials from protecting students and teachers during an emergency. Between March 1- 3, the Senate initially failed to override the Governor’s veto with a 29-20 vote, but then passed a motion to reconsider the veto and re-referred to the bill to the Senate Rules Committee. We anticipate the Senate will take another vote to override the veto in the days ahead.
As discussed in previous blog posts, House Bill 107 (Senate Bill 114) makes modifications to the 2020 COVID-19 relief measures for employers and claimants under the unemployment insurance system, reduces the SUTA tax rate for 2021, and includes technical changes requested by the Division of Employment Security. The House and Senate Finance Committees passed these bills last week and continue to make their way through the process. These bills address important updates to the Unemployment Insurance system without increasing the Unemployment Tax on employers.
Another notable piece of legislation that made its way through the General Assembly was House Bill 196, which makes modifications to COVID-19 relief legislation and provides additional appropriations for the expenditure of federal pandemic relief funds. Section 2.10 of House Bill 196, extends the expiration of the temporary authorization for emergency video notarization and emergency video witnessing from March 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021. In total, this round of COVID relief funding allocates another $1.7 billion of federal funds to various agencies and programs across state government.
This bill was originally filed on March 1 and made its way through the General Assembly quickly. On Feb. 2, House Bill 196 passed the first reading and was re-referred to the committee on rules, calendar, and operations of the house. On Feb. 3, House Bill 196 passed the second reading with a vote of 120-0, and passed the third reading and was ordered engrossed by the House. Also, the Senate passed the first reading. On Feb. 4, the senate passed the second and third reading of the bill. The bill was ordered engrossed by the senate and was ordered to the House calendar. Once the bill was added, the House ordered enrolled and it has been sent to the Governor for final approval.
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