Federal unemployment benefits expanded by the CARES Act due to COVID-19 expired yesterday for over 1.5 million North Carolinians. Now, those who are relying on unemployment insurance to pay their rent or mortgage and/or to buy food will be forced to rely solely on our state's benefits system.

North Carolina's unemployment system has one of the least supportive unemployment systems in the country, with a maximum weekly benefit cap of $350 per week with an earnings cap of $75 a week. Because of this egregiously low benefit amount and earning allowance, many claimants whose work hours have been significantly reduced aren't even able to access a portion of that benefit because they're still bringing home $425 or more per week.

Families are struggling during our country's health emergency, and they need more support from our government. Our office has spoken with over one hundred individuals who have struggled to access unemployment benefits since the pandemic began because of our overwhelmed unemployment system. Now, their benefits are being reduced to a fraction of what they were from April - July.

The General Assembly must increase our maximum benefit cap and extend the amount of time that claimants can receive benefits. North Carolinians are in need, and we should step up to help them feed their families and pay their bills during this unprecedented time. 
The House will reconvene on September 2nd, and I hope that our negotiations will include funding to expand unemployment benefits, to help prepare our schools for the challenges of reopening, and to support our child care facilities and small businesses. The people of North Carolina are counting on us.
Reminder: my office in the General Assembly will be open and utilizing teleworking technologies indefinitely. We are still able to address any questions or concerns you might have. We will just not be physically in the Legislative Building for a short time. You can still contact my office by emailing or by calling 919-715-0795.

Please contact me at any time. I am here to serve you.

Representative Julie von Haefen
Virtual Office Hours
Virtual office hours on Tuesday August 4th!

I'm excited to host virtual office hours via Facebook Live on Tuesday August 4th at 5PM!

Click the link below to RSVP for the event on Facebook and to receive a notification when we go live.
COVID-19 Update
Wake County Public Schools Reopening Plan

On July 21st, the Wake County Public School System announced the delay of bringing students back on campus in Plan B. Instead, all students will begin the school year in online instruction. The first two weeks of school for all students will focus on orientation, meet and greet opportunities, and distribution of supplies. Students will not be initially divided into groups A, B, C during the first two weeks.
The first day of school for students’ online instruction will be on the following dates:

  • Week of August 3: Early College
  • August 13: Modified*
  • August 17: Traditional and Year-Round
  • *The start date for Modified calendar schools has been changed from Aug. 3 to Aug. 13.

During this transitional period the district will focus on its readiness for welcoming students back on campus while also monitoring guidance from local and state health officials. As we prepare for students to return to campus, WCPSS will prioritize returning Pre-K and Regional Programs students on September 8 to daily classroom instruction, without weekly rotations. More information on these programs will follow.
As a parent of three school aged children, I know this is a difficult time. We are all making tough decisions about what’s best and safest for our kids and for our teachers and staff. As always, if you have questions, please reach out at any time.
DMV Road Tests For Individuals 18 Years or Older
The North Carolina DMV has adopted emergency rules to waive road tests in certain circumstances for customers 18 years old and older to obtain a Class C license. The road test waiver under the new rules will apply to the following circumstances:

  • Drivers who currently hold a Level I permit, have turned 18 years old and meet all requirements to obtain the Level II Limited Provisional License, including no motor vehicle moving violation convictions, seat belt infractions or unlawful use of a mobile phone.
  • Drivers who have received training and passed a driving course from a DMV certified North Carolina driving school within the previous 12 months and have not been convicted of a motor vehicle moving violation, seat belt infraction or unlawful use of a mobile phone.
  • Drivers who previously held an NC driver’s license, and the license has not been expired more than one renewal cycle and was in good standing at the time of expiration.
  • Drivers 18 years old and less than 66 years old –not expired more than 8 years.
  • Drivers 66 years or older – not expired more than 5 years.
  • Drivers from another state, district or territory that has reciprocity with North Carolina. Drivers must provide their most recent license held and a certified 5-year driving record from that jurisdiction. License cannot be expired more than 5 years and must have been in good standing at the time of expiration.

Road test requirements for these drivers will be suspended and the driver will be issued a driver license with the appropriate expiration. Unlike the Level II waiver, these drivers will not be required to return later to take a road test. There may be VERY LIMITED circumstances outside of those outlined above where DMV may be able to waive a road test. Contact one of us if you think you have such a circumstance.

The new rules took effect on July 23, 2020. All DMV services will continue to be by APPOINTMENT ONLY; customers can make appointments here .

As a reminder, for young drivers under the age of 18, SL 2020-30 requires DMV to temporarily waive the road test requirement for level two limited licenses, however, to obtain the level three limited license, the driver will have to take a road test.
State Health Plan Extends Cost Waiver for COVID-19 Testing and Treatment
The State Health Plan is extending the cost waiver for COVID-19 testing and treatment for members diagnosed with COVID-19, including associated deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

The member cost-share waiver for COVID-19 related clinical screening visits and COVID-19 diagnostic tests will remain in place until the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requirement expires. The act was signed into law in March 2020. The cost waiver for the treatment (medical only) of members diagnosed with COVID-19 will remain in place until Oct. 31, 2020, at which time it will be re-evaluated.

In order to help members limit personal contact and to assist in containing the outbreak, the Plan is also extending the coverage of video and telehealth visits, where available, through Dec. 31, 2020.
Moratorium on Utility Cutoffs Extended
Last week, the NC Utilities Commission extended the moratorium on utility shutoffs through end of day on August 31st.

According to the Commission's order , utilities may resume shutoffs due to non-payment on September 1st. Utilities are required to give customers up to 12 months to pay off overdue balances.

As long as a customer agrees to a re-payment plant and meets the monthly payment requirements outlined in that plan, the customer's utilities cannot be shut off.

Utilities can't charge late fees, penalties or interest on late payments that accrued during the shutdown moratorium orders.
North Carolina Announces Delivery of Personal Protection Equipment for Agricultural Workers
Farm workers have been particularly hard-hit with COVID-19. We must do more to protect these workers, their families, and their communities which are impacted as the virus spreads.

This week, the State of North Carolina began delivering over 900,000 masks and other infection control supplies to farms and agricultural operations across the state. In addition to masks, the deliveries included hand sanitizer and cloth face coverings for workers to take home.

Thirty-one counties have been selected to receive the first delivery: Alamance, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe,

Forsyth, Franklin, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Harnett, Henderson, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Lincoln, Martin, Mecklenburg, Nash, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wake, Wayne, and Wilson.

The Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with N.C. Cooperative Extension, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the N.C. Department of Labor, and the N.C. Agromedicine Institute to expedite a delivery plan and raise awareness about this resource among the farming community.
Office Updates
Wake County Early Voting Website
Take a minute to check out the Wake County Board of Elections' website and learn about all of your early voting options!

Voters in Wake County will have access to 20 early voting locations this year. Early voting locations open on October 15th and will operate under the following hours:

Monday: Friday: 8AM - 7:30PM
Saturday: 8AM - 1PM
Sunday: 1PM - 6PM