News from the Legislature  From the office of  N.C. Rep. Karl Gillespie

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The House held no-vote sessions on Monday, May 17, Tuesday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 19. Although no-vote sessions were held, budget negotiations continue between the two legislative chambers.

On Thursday, May 20, the Appropriations Committee met and passed two bills:

– SB172, Additional COVID-19 Response and Relief, which establishes various reserves and funds to handle grant funds received by the State under the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The bill also appropriates funds from the Local Fiscal Recovery Fund for distribution to local governments and appropriates grant funds provided to the State under the American Rescue Plan Act. Technical and other changes are also included in the legislation.

– HB947, The G.R.E.A.T. Broadband Expansion Act, creates the Completing Access to Broadband Program (CAB) to supplement federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding received by counties with State ARPA funds to expand broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved areas. HB947 establishes a separate process to administer ARPA funds appropriated for broadband grants in the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program, and makes various changes to the State-funded GREAT program.

Session convened at 10:30 a.m. and the House voted on SB172. I voted in favor and the bill passed by a vote of 100-2.

“I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues this session to get children back in school as quickly and safely as possible while also taking steps to help them recover from lost time in the classroom.

This includes a new K-12 summer school option for all students who have fallen behind due to remote learning. In the House, we have also advanced bills to expand school choice, reduce over-testing and increase academic transparency.”

The House passed HB813, which prohibits state agencies from paying ransom to hackers.

The House held no-vote sessions on Monday, May 24, and Tuesday, May 25. On Wednesday, the House reconvened to vote on the following bills:

– HB395, Health Information Exchange Deadline Extension Patient And Patient Protection, would, among other things, exempt ambulatory surgical centers from the Health Information Exchange (HIE) Network known as NC HealthConnex but require a physician who performs procedures there to be connected and to submit demographic and clinical data. The bill passed unanimously, 109-0.

– SB241, Modified Utility Vehicle Def/Use of Funds, would broaden the definition of modified utility vehicle and amend the restrictions and requirements applicable to modified utility vehicles that may be registered and operated on highways. I voted in favor and the bill passed, 105-5.

– HB947, G.R.E.A.T. Broadband Expansion Act, would distribute $750 million in federal funding to expand high-speed broadband internet access in all 100 counties in North Carolina.  The bill passed unanimously, 109-0.

The House concluded the week with a no-vote session prior to the start of Memorial Day weekend.

Did You Know?

Autism Accessibility Bill Signed Into Law

Gov. Cooper has signed the bill that increases access to treatment therapy for families with children with autism. The bill passed in the legislature unanimously and will provide meaningful help for these families and their children.

 

Letter to Governor to Reinstate Work Search Requirement

I signed onto a letter with 60 of my colleagues requesting that the governor immediately reinstate unemployment work search requirements. Many business owners are in a desperate search to hire folks but have been struggling to do so. This is a common-sense step to help connect the unemployed with current job opportunities.

I am pleased to report that hours after the letter, the governor reinstated work search requirements.

Recently Sponsored Legislation

HB943, Funds to Support Western NC HIEs [Health INformation Exchange].

HB947, The G.R.E.A.T. Broadband Expansion Act

HB95, Authorize Broadband Cooperatives

Note: The bill filing deadline has passed. Therefore, the opportunity to introduce new legislation has ended and the ability to co-sponsor legislation for the remainder of session will be limited.

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