I hope you all found safe and special ways to stay connected with your friends and family last week. It's so important that we all find ways to support and take care of one another during this holiday season.

Last week, Dr. Mandy Cohen, the Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, updated North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map due to our state's rapid rise in cases and hospitalizations. The COVID-19 County Alert System uses metrics informed by the White House Coronavirus Task Force and North Carolina’s key metrics to categorize counties into three tiers:

  • Yellow: Significant Community Spread
  • Orange: Substantial Community Spread
  • Red: Critical Community Spread

Because no one metric provides a complete picture, the COVID-19 County Alert System uses a combination of three metrics: case rate, the percent of tests that are positive, and hospital impact within the county. There are now 20 red counties with critical levels of community spread and 42 orange counties with substantial levels of community.
The data is clear: this virus is spreading rapidly across our state. We must recommit ourselves to protecting one other through the regular practice of the Three W's. When you're around people who do not live in your household, please continue to always:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Wait six feet apart from others.
  • Wash your hands.

Although Wake County is not currently showing substantial or critical levels of community spread, we must remain vigilant as temperatures begin to drop and as cases around us continue to rise.
Reminder: the General Assembly will reconvene on January 13th, 2021.

Although the General Assembly is not currently in session, my office is open and utilizing teleworking technologies to meet your needs. 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
Climate Change Virtual Town Hall
On Thursday, January 7th at 7 PM, I will host a virtual town hall on Climate Change. We will discuss the impact of pollution and global warming on our local ecosystems and the different policies our state legislature can use to combat climate change. 

Our guest speakers will be Kathy Dow, Climate Reality Leader with the Climate Reality Corps, and Cassie Gavin, the Senior Director of Government Relations for the NC Sierra Club.

To join this virtual event, all individuals must register and submit questions beforehand. Please send any questions or comments about the registration process to
COVID-19 Update
Continuation of Phase 3 and Expansion of Mask Requirement
On November 23rd, Governor Roy Cooper issued additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement as cases continue to rise rapidly in North Carolina and across the country.

In addition to extending Phase 3 capacity limits and safety requirements, the Order tightens the existing statewide mask requirement – making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. The Order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining 6 feet of distance; gyms even when exercising; all schools public and private; and all public or private transportation when traveling with people outside of the household. 

The Order also requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter. 

Executive Order No. 180 remains in effect through Friday, December 11. 
Office Updates
North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice Makes Marijuana Recommendations
The North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, co-chaired by Justice Anita Earls and Attorney General Josh Stein, adopted recommendations related to marijuana. Those include a recommendation to decriminalize marijuana possession in small amounts and to further study the potential legalization of marijuana possession, cultivation, and sale.

Right now, possession of up to ½ ounce of marijuana is a class 3 misdemeanor, not subject to imprisonment but subject to a fine up to $200. In 2019, there were 31,287 charges and 8,520 convictions for this offense; 61 percent of those convicted were nonwhite. Possession of more than ½ ounce up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana is a class 1 misdemeanor, subject to up to 45 days imprisonment and a $200 fine. In 2019, there were 3,422 charges and 1,909 convictions for this offense; 70 percent of those convicted were nonwhite.

The Task Force recommends:
  • Decriminalizing possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana by making such possession a civil offense;
  • Expunging past convictions through an automatic process;
  • Improving drug enforcement data collection and reporting;
  • Requiring law enforcement agencies to publish drug enforcement data on its website in an easily searchable way;

The Task Force will release its full recommendations in a report to Gov. Roy Cooper on Dec. 15, 2020.
State of North Carolina Internship Program
The State of North Carolina Internship Program is now accepting applications for summer 2021. The internship program provides students with professional development skills that connect classroom experiences with potential career choices.

Students who are chosen to participate in the paid internship will work 40 hours per week for 10-weeks. There are 87 internship positions available with various state agencies located throughout North Carolina. The deadline for submitting an application is January 4th.
Get Your Flu Shot!
The first and most important step in protecting you and your family from the flu virus is to get a flu vaccine each year. Yet many North Carolinians don’t get vaccinated.

Contact your health care provider or visit to find a convenient location to get a flu vaccination near you.