The rate of positive cases and hospitalizations continue to hit record-highs as COVID-19 spreads across North Carolina. The spread of the virus threatens our public health, the safety of school reopening next month, and our economy. I have tremendous sympathy for businesses that are closed and for businesses that are open, but are struggling to survive. Until the public health situation improves, consumers will not resume normal spending patterns and our economy will suffer. If we want to return to "normal," we all have to play a part in controlling the spread of COVID-19.
I encourage you and your family to abide by the three W's:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Wait six feet apart.
  • Wash your hands.
Disregarding public health impacts, legislative leadership has repeatedly tried to override Governor Cooper’s orders and the recommendations of state and national public health experts to reopen the riskiest activities. Last week, they attempted to reopen arcades, amusement parks, large public gatherings for fireworks, gyms, bowling alleys, and skating rinks. Governor Cooper vetoed those bills, and I voted to sustain three of those vetoes in the House (the other two vetoes were sustained in the Senate). 

  • HB652 would have allowed concealed carry on church property also used as a school. As the Governor said in his veto, this bill would have threatened the safety of students and teachers. 
  • HB686 seemed moot since it would have allowed large gatherings such as parades and fireworks for the Fourth of July. We took a vote anyway, and the veto was sustained.
  • HB806 was a bill to reopen gyms and fitness facilities. I understand the hardships that gyms are going through during the pandemic, but scientific studies show that working out in a gym is a high risk activity that can contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Most states that opened gyms are now shutting them down again. When NC is experiencing a daily rise in the number of coronavirus cases & hospitalizations, we can not risk more spread. The veto was sustained by a 63-51 margin. (69 votes were needed to override the veto)

After three vetoes were sustained, the Speaker pulled the last vote off the calendar ( HB258 : Open Amusement Parks/Arcades/Venues). 

The House has now recessed until September 2. We still have a lot of work to do to address the myriad of issues caused by the pandemic and I hope that our session in the fall will involve funding for schools, child care facilities, unemployment, health care 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
COVID-19 Update
Public Schools Reopen Under Plan B

Yesterday, Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina schools will open for both in-person and remote learning with key safety precautions to protect the health of our students, teachers, staff and families, or Plan B.
Plan B will allow children to attend school for in-person instruction but provide important safety protocols like lower density, social distancing required in the classroom, face coverings for everyone, extensive cleaning, and more. The Governor is encouraging local school districts to provide a remote learning option for any child or family that chooses can chooses. In addition, school districts will have the option of Plan C – all remote learning – if that’s best for them.

Plan B requires:

  • Face coverings for all teachers, staff and students K-12. The state will provide 5 reusable face coverings to every teacher, staff and student in public schools.
  • Limiting the number of people in the building to ensure social distancing
  • Symptom screening including temperature checks to enter the building
  • Schedule changes to allow for frequent hand washing and sanitizing
  • Routine cleaning of classrooms, bathrooms, buses and equipment

Schools have also developed detailed procedures for what will happen if a student or teacher show symptoms or tests positive. If trends spike and in-person school cannot be done safely even with these safety protocols, then North Carolina will need to move to all remote learning like we did last March.

There are no decisions more important than the ones about our children and our schools. This announcement is the result of careful, collaborative, and painstaking work, and I know the Governor and his team have worked hard to make the best decision they can at this time. 

Many of you have contacted my office with concerns about the state law that requires students to be in class for the first five days of the school year. Governor Cooper has obtained an advisory opinion from the NC Department of Justice which states that his plan is in compliance with the law, even if individual districts choose Plan C, or if they give students an option for all-remote learning, such as the WCPSS Virtual Academy. 
If your family is considering the Wake Virtual Academy, I encourage you to read this WRAL article which provides great context and answers many questions that you might have as you make your decision about schooling in the fall.
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.
North Carolina Pauses in Safer At Home Phase 2, Extends Statewide Requirement for Face Coverings

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced yesterday that North Carolina will remain in phase 2 for an additional 3 weeks after the current executive order expires on July 17th.
Gyms, entertainment venues, bars and other businesses are required to remain closed under Phase Two and gatherings continue to be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Yesterday, the North Carolina Supreme Court blocked a judge’s previous ruling that allowed many bowling alleys in the state to reopen. Previously, Judge James Gale ruled that Governor Cooper treated bowling alleys differently than businesses with similar coronavirus risk levels that were allowed to reopen — overturning the governor’s executive order keeping bowling alleys closed.

The Supreme Court granted a request from the Governor's attorneys to review Judge Gale's decision, and bowling alleys must shut down again for now.
Legislative Update
Federal Block Grants Provide Additional DHHS Funding
Last week, I was proud to vote to provide over $25 million dollars in additional funding to DHHS from federal block grants.

SB 380 will increase funding for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Child Protective Services, and will further subsidize child care in our state. This bill also provides millions of dollars in additional funding for child and adult mental health services.

I was glad to be able to vote on another bill to disperse federal funding to DHHS so that the departments has the tools and resources it needs to respond to the ongoing pandemic. These funds will certainly be used to promote the health, wellness, and safety of families across our state.
Medicaid Expansion: We Must Act Now!
A report from Families USA has found that 20% of adults in North Carolina no longer have health insurance. At least 238,000 North Carolinians became uninsured due to job losses between February and May.

Our state currently ranks 5th in the nation for the number of people who have lost their health insurance due to the economic downturn during the pandemic.

We know that 1 in 5 adults no longer have health insurance in the middle of a pandemic. That means that about 1.2 million North Carolinians are facing healthcare insecurity and rising medical costs during a global pandemic that threatens their health and safety.
The report also compared the rates of newly unemployed workers who lose access to healthcare coverage in states that expanded Medicaid vs states that have not expanded Medicaid. The report found that expansion states had an average of 22.6% of unemployed workers become uninsured, and non-expansion states had 42.5% of their newly unemployed workers become uninsured.

Without Medicaid Expansion, many North Carolinians who've suffered from unemployment or reduced hours and benefits due to the coronavirus might not qualify for affordable coverage. The General Assembly must act now to expand Medicaid and provide an affordable healthcare option for families that are struggling during these unprecedented times.
Office Updates
Save the Date: Virtual Office Hours
Save the date for my upcoming virtual office hours on Tuesday August 4th!

My next newsletter will contain more information about the guest who will be joining me, and it will also include a link to join the event.

If you want to be one of the first people to know who will be joining me, take a minute to like my Facebook page!
Reminder: CVS Now Offers COVID-19 Testing By Appointment
CVS Health has begun offering self-swab tests to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. Testing will be scheduled online at and take place in North Carolina at 55 select CVS Pharmacy locations through the pharmacy drive-thru window; no testing will take place in-store. Employees participating in the test collection process will maintain safety using personal protective equipment and follow sanitization protocols after each test.
Here are locations in and around District 36 that are offering tests:
  • CVS Pharmacy, 5859 Tryon Road, Cary, NC 27518
  • CVS Pharmacy, 2797 Highway 55, Cary, NC 27519
  • CVS Pharmacy, 7025 Winston Hill Drive, Cary, NC 27519
  • CVS Pharmacy, 2994 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, NC 27518
  • CVS Pharmacy, 790 Timber Drive, Garner, NC 27529
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