The General Assembly returned to legislative session on Monday, May 18. Last week, we voted on a compromise elections bill. Although the bill wasn't perfect, it is important to safeguard the vote for November so I voted yes. HB 1169 now goes to the State Senate for its consideration.

COVID-19 illustrates the need for voters to have a number of safe options to cast a vote: a voter-friendly vote by mail system, in-person Early Voting with numerous sites and extended hours, and in-person Election Day voting that is not crowded. Ideally, HB 1169 would have made Election Day a holiday to encourage voting and volunteering, and it would have provided postage-paid mail-in absentee ballots. The bill did include these important changes: 

  • Allows you to request an absentee ballot with your cell phone through a new online portal;
  • Lowers the witness requirement to cast an absentee ballot from two to one;
  • Invests funds for more and larger early voting sites, more weekend hours, and PPE for voting sites;
  • Makes it easier for counties to recruit poll workers;
  • Improves procedures for election officials and voters to track an absentee ballot;
  • Allows the use of a public assistance photo ID if/when ID is required (voter ID is not currently not required for the November election because of ongoing legal challenges and a court injunction).

On Friday, May 29th, I was proud to hold a press conference about  HB 1117  "Protect Child Care Workers/COVID-19 Pandemic", with Rep. Rachel Hunt and Rep. Verla Insko. We were joined by child care workers and advocates Cassandra Brooks, Director of Little Believers Academy; Carolyn King, a thirty year veteran early childhood educator and owner of King's Learning Center in Lumberton; Patricia Johnson, parent of an immunocompromised child; and David Jackson, CEO of Boone Area Chamber of Commerce.

The COVID19 pandemic has highlighted our economy’s reliance upon child care programs. Child care is a necessity, but unfortunately, we have failed to support this public good as a state and as a nation. We cannot expect parents to work without providing a safe environment and a healthy educator who is able to care for our children.

Patricia Johnson said it most eloquently, “Childcare is the backbone of the economy. It is absurd to expect parents to return to work without real options. It is absurd to talk about reopening business while ignoring the very practical question, ‘what do we do with the kids?’”

Without reliable and safe child care, our economy will not recover. We must provide the baseline level of funding and resources that child care programs need if they are to safely serve the growing number of families with parents who are returning to the workplace.

HB 1117 has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee and awaits further action. I look forward to working with my colleagues to possibly incorporate the language of this important bill into disaster relief legislation that is passed this session.
Reminder: my office in the General Assembly will be utilizing teleworking technologies indefinitely. My office is not closed. We are still here to help 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
Legislative Updates
Town Hall: Education During COVID-19
On Thursday, June 4th at 7PM, Representative Sydney Batch and I will host a virtual town hall, "Education During COVID-19." We will discuss evolving plans related to school closures, openings, and virtual learning. 

Our guest speakers will be Wake County Public School Board Members, Monika Johnson-Hostler and Lindsay Mahaffey, as well as Freebird McKinney, the Director of Legislative Affairs for the NC State Board of Education, and Susan Gale Perry, the Chief Deputy Secretary for NC DHHS. 

To join this virtual event, all individuals must register and submit questions beforehand. Please send any questions or comments about the registration process to
Virtual Office Hours: June 10th
Office Hours with Garner Councilman, Demian Dellinger
I'm moving my regular office hours online! Town of Garner Councilman Demian Dellinger will join me next Wednesday, June 10th, at 7 p.m. 

We will be discussing the state and local response to the COVID crisis and taking your questions on Facebook Live. 
Stay At Home Order: Phase Two
The Governor moved North Carolina into Phase at 5PM on Friday, May 22nd. Phase 2 remains in place until June 26, 2020, unless changed or canceled. Phase 2 lifts the Stay At Home order moving into a Safer At Home recommendation , especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Teleworking is also urged when possible.

The Phase 2 Executive Order does the following:

  • Lifts the Stay at Home Order and moves the state to a Safer at Home recommendation
  • Allows restaurants to open for on-premises dining with limits on occupancy, specific requirements for disinfection of common spaces and 6 feet between each group of customers sitting at each table
  • Allows child care businesses to open to serve all children, as long as they follow state health guidelines
  • Allows overnight camps to operate, following specific public health requirements and guidance.
  • Allows personal care, grooming, massage and tattoo businesses to open with specific requirements for disinfection of equipment, face coverings for the service providers, 6 feet of distance between customers and at 50% reduced occupancy
  • Allows indoor and outdoor pools to open with 50% reduced occupancy, following specific public health requirements
  • Allows people to gather together for social purposes, so long as they do not exceed the mass gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
  • Allows sporting and entertainment events to occur in large venues for broadcast to the public, so long as the events occur in large venues and spectators are limited to the mass gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors

IMPORTANT: Public health officials did not allow bars to open due to concerns about crowded conditions, alcohol, and a lack of social distancing. Instead of following the advice of public health experts, legislative leaders used emergency rules to push through HB 536, a bill that would override Governor Cooper’s Executive Orders and local rules, in order to re-open bars across the state immediately.

The bill passed 65 to 53 and I voted no on this bill. HB 536 would override the judgment of public health officials, Governor Cooper, and limit the ability of towns, cities, and counties to apply local restrictions.

The bill now goes to Governor Cooper for a possible veto.

Continue to stay home as much as possible. If you need to go out, follow the 3 W’s:

  • Wear a mask
  • Wait 6 feet apart
  • Wash your hands
Executive Order 141 officially outlines Phase Two, here. As a reminder, here are the conditions for phase 3:

Phase 3 - at least 4-6 weeks after Phase 2

  • Lessen restrictions for vulnerable populations with encouragement to continue practicing physical distancing and minimizing exposure to settings where distancing isn’t possible
  • Allow increased capacity at restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worships, and entertainment venues
  • Further increase the number of people allowed at gatherings
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings 
  • Governor Cooper and Dr. Cohen both underscored the need for the testing, tracing and trends to move in the right direction for each of these phases to move forward. If there is a spike in infections, tightening of restrictions may be needed temporarily.

I remain extraordinarily grateful that North Carolina has leaders like Governor Cooper and DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, who use sound data and metrics to guide their decisions about the health and safety of North Carolinians. I am confident in their ability to continue to guide our state through this crisis.
Community Resources for COVID-19
Returning to Work and How It Impacts Unemployment
As North Carolina enters Phase 1 of Governor Cooper’s plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions, more businesses will be reopening, and more people will be returning to work. The Division of Employment Security (DES) is providing the following information for individuals and employers about how returning to work may impact unemployment benefits.

Refusing to return to work when your employer calls you back typically makes you ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. When you return to work, you should stop filing your Weekly Certifications for unemployment.

DES will consider that you have good cause to refuse to return to work, and may continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits, if you refuse due to one of these COVID-19 related reasons:

  1. You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and have been advised by a medical professional to not attend work.
  2. A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or you are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  3. You are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a high-risk individual as a person 65 years of age or older, or a person of any age, who has serious underlying medical conditions including being immunocompromised, or has chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and undergoing dialysis, or liver disease.
  4. You are the primary caregiver of a child or person in your household who is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, and the school or facility is required for you to work.
  5. You are unable to reach your place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency or you have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  6. In order to comply with any governmental order regarding travel, business operations and mass gatherings, you must refuse a recall to your former employment or an offer of suitable work.
  7. You reasonably believe there is a valid degree of risk to your health and safety due to a significant risk of exposure or infection to COVID-19 at your employer’s place of business due to a failure of the employer to comply with guidelines as set out by the CDC, other governmental authorities or industry groups as may be found in CDC guidance, the Governor’s Executive Orders, or other binding authority; or due to objective reasons that the employer’s facility is not safe for the claimant to return to work.

Please visit the link below for frequently asked questions about returning to work.
CVS Now Offering COVID-19 Testing
CVS Health will begin 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
COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program
This month, the General Assembly appropriated $125 million to the Golden Leaf Foundation to administer the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program offers low interest loans of up to $50,000 with no payments for six month to businesses affected by COVID-19. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.
The Rural Center acts as a program administrator, managing the flow of loan applications to lending partners for underwriting and servicing. Lending partners include Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, Piedmont Business Capital, Sequoyah Fund, and Thread Capital.
Small-business owners affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) can learn more about the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and apply for a loan at or call Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) at 800.228.8443 to speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses.
Office Updates
Have you completed your census yet? If not, there's still time. Take a minute today to make yourself count!
The census affects funding for schools, roads and hospitals, firefighters, and resources for people who need it most. It helps elect community leaders on school boards and city councils.   You have the power to make a difference, right now   -- from your house -- by going online, calling the Census Bureau, or by filling out your paper from once it comes in the mail. Get counted today. 

You can call the census bureau to complete your questionnaire using this number:
Instagram Live with Jenna Wadsworth!
Jenna Wadsworth joined me last week for a conversation on Instagram Live. Jenna is the Vice Chair of the Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District Board, and I was so glad to have a chance to chat with her about farming in Wake County, the effects of COVID19 on agriculture, meat & poultry plants and her advocacy for environmental issues. 
Wake Stone Public Hearing
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources (DEMLR) is seeking community feedback on Wake Stone Corporation’s application for modification to Permit 92-10 near Umstead Park. The public hearing on this application will be held digitally on June 23, 2020. The public is invited to participate online or listen by phone. Speakers will be asked to register in advance.
WHEN: Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 6:00 PM
Participants can join the meeting starting at 5:45 PM
Meeting Number (Access Code): 617 499 551
Meeting Password: DEQ123
Cisco WebEx by Phone: +1 415 655 0003 US TOLL 
Meeting number (access code): 617 449 551
*If you wish to speak at the digital public hearing, you must register, provide the required information, and follow instructions on ways to join the public hearing. Registration must be completed by 12:00 PM on June 23, 2020. To register, please click the following link .