Last week, Governor Cooper signed House Bill 196. This bill makes modifications to COVID-19 relief legislation and provides additional appropriations for the expenditure of federal pandemic relief funds. The bill allocates:
- $1.7 billion to various programs across the state, which will be a big boost for small businesses, schools, and food assistance programs.
- Bill extends the expiration of the temporary authorization for emergency video notarization and emergency video witnessing from March 1, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2021.
Governor Cooper vetoed Senate Bill 37, In-Person Learning Choice for Families, 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. The Senate subsequently failed to override the Governor’s veto and instead proposed Senate Bill 220, The Reopen Our Schools Act of 2021.
Senate Bill 220 was signed by the Governor on March 11. The bill represents a compromise to Senate Bill 37 between the Governor and the General Assembly, where it passed with unanimous support.
On March 11, Senate Bill 114 (H107) passed the senate and made its way to the House. The bill makes modifications to the 2020 COVID-19 relief measures allowed for employers and claimants under the unemployment insurance system, reduces the SUTA tax rate for 2021, and makes technical changes requested by the Division of Employment Security. Senate Bill 114 is interchangeable with House Bill 107 and both bills have bi-partisan support.
Another notable piece of legislation that made its way through the General Assembly last week was Senate Bill 138, which authorizes electronic shareholder meetings and makes related modifications to the Business Corporation Act. The bill was passed by the senate on March 11 and has been sent to the House for further consideration.
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