Rep. Bell Appointed Chair of COVID-19 Working Group
Raleigh, N.C. – State House Majority Leader John Bell has been appointed to the bipartisan North Carolina House Select Committee on COVID-19, which will be made up of policy working groups that will meet remotely to prepare immediate and long-term legislative responses to the developing crisis. Representative Bell was named Chair of the State Operations Working Group that oversees emergency services, elections and public safety.
The committee meetings will be held by telephonic and remote participation. Members of both parties will chair the policy working groups that will minimize gatherings of staff and members in accordance with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The state House Select Committee on COVID-19’s charge includes addressing “documented and anticipated economic impacts associated with the spread of COVID-19 virus on North Carolina’s economy, including workforce dislocation, health system resource management, declined consumer activity, and temporary industry contraction.”
Speaker of the House Tim Moore said state lawmakers stand with senior citizens and vulnerable populations who are most at risk from COVID-19’s spread, as well as people across North Carolina facing an uncertain economic future. He said the extensive list of reforms the committee could consider necessitate the working groups begin meeting as soon as next week.
“I have encouraged Governor Cooper to take any lawful administrative action that he has available to support the economy at this time like delaying sales and unemployment tax remittance deadlines for businesses, extending state and local government permit expirations, and facilitating occupational licensure flexibility for working people in North Carolina dealing with this crisis,” said Speaker Moore.
“The General Assembly has prepared for times of crisis with smart savings and disaster readiness policy that enable the administration to respond effectively. But for actions the administration cannot take on its own, the House Select Committee on COVID-19 and its crisis policy working groups will identify immediate and long-term reforms to assist North Carolinians through this emergency.”
Speaker Moore has reassured North Carolinians that the state is in strong fiscal position with a $3.9 billion Unemployment Trust Fund balance, $1.1 billion in savings, a $74 million disaster relief fund, $184 million in Medicaid contingency reserves, and a $2.2 billion balance of unappropriated cash-on-hand.
Audio for the public to listen to the state House Select Committee on COVID-19 will be streamed through the North Carolina General Assembly’s audio system.
Members of the public can sign up for committee notices and will be able to access documents during the remote meetings on the committee’s website that will be hosted at http://www.ncleg.net
Through remote meetings,members will identify measures necessary to maintain essential functions of North Carolina government during a pandemic, including education and election systems.