The General Assembly returns to legislative session on Monday, May 18. In preparation for this session, members of the General Assembly have been hard at work drafting and editing bills to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and to plan for the future of our state after this crisis has passed.

I was proud to introduce  HB 1117  "Protect Child Care Workers/COVID-19 Pandemic", which would appropriate $121 million dollars to DHHS to fund hazard pay for childcare workers, to provide sanitation equipment, personal protective equipment, and deep cleaning programs to childcare centers, and to cover out-of pocket expenses related to COVID-19 testing for any childcare provider working in a facility where a child or other childcare worker tests positive for COVID-19. It is so important that the state protects our essential child care workers who are on the frontlines of the pandemic. Without child care, our economy will not be able to restart and families will struggle. Thank you to all the early educators working now to care for our children, and to those who will soon return to work.

I also introduced  HB 1130 , "Invest in a Sound Basic Education," which would appropriate funds to help move our state towards meeting the benchmarks set forth by the NC courts in  Leandro v. North Carolina . It is imperative that our state act now to restructure our funding system for public education and invest in an education system that can provide our children with their constitutional right to a sound basic education. The bill includes additional appropriations for NC pre-K, racial equity training in teacher prep programs and establishing an oversight office for equity in DPI. A companion bill, HB 1129 , "Ensure a Sound Basic Education" was filed as well, containing policy changes to our public education system. I was proud to work on drafting both of these important pieces of legislation along with my colleagues in the Democratic House caucus and the Governor's office .

Many of you might remember the original House Budget that was passed in 2019 included a school construction bond. Today, I was proud to be a primary sponsor of HB 1088 , “Invest NC Bond Act of 2020,” which proposes a $3.9 billion bond measure to fund infrastructure in our state, including infrastructure for our public school systems. 

I am excited to work with my colleagues next week to pass legislation that will bring relief to North Carolinians who are hurting and that will help us plan for the future as we navigate our way through this crisis.

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 Linsday 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
Stay At Home Order: Phase One
According to the Department of Health and Human Service’s official count as of May 14, North Carolina has 16,507 cases of COVID-19. There are 507 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 615 confirmed deaths.

You can visit the state’s COVID-19 dashboard to see how we are doing on the important benchmarks we need to meet to ease stay-at-home restrictions and see demographic data, zip code counts, and other info:

On May 8th, the Governor lifted portions of NC's stay at home order. Our stay-at-home order remains in effect but more businesses have begun reopening. In phase one, retail businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity and will be required to direct customers to stand 6 feet apart, perform frequent cleanings, provide hand sanitizer when available, screen workers for symptoms and more.

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 138 officially outlines Phase One here. As a reminder, here are the conditions for phases 2-3:

Phase 2 - at least 2-3 weeks after Phase 1

  • Lift Stay At Home order with strong encouragement for vulnerable populations to continue staying at home to stay safe
  • Allow limited opening of restaurants, bars, fitness centers, personal care services, and other businesses that can follow safety protocols including the potential need to reduce capacity
  • Allow gathering at places such as houses of worship and entertainment venues at reduced capacity
  • Increase in number of people allowed at gatherings
  • Open public playgrounds
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregant care settings 

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
Unemployment For Self-Employed Workers
Our office has received many questions about unemployment for independent contractors and self employed workers.

On April 24th, DES began processing PUA claims for independent contractors and self employed workers. Independent contractors and self employed workers may file for unemployment insurance assistance at any time.  If you have questions about the process to apply for PUA, the link below is to a Tip Sheet about how to best complete the application process. Individuals who must file a 1099 are highly encouraged to review this link.
Some claimants might experience technical issues that require further attention. If you filed a regular unemployment claim before filing your PUA and are currently experiencing a payment delay, please contact or 919-715-0795

Or office cannot guarantee that any issue with your claim will be immediately resolved, but we will do our best to connect you with the best resources available to resolve your claim.
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.
Wake Med Resources: Advice on Safely Returning to Work
As we begin to get past the COVID-19 plateau and transition away from a quarantine, work-from-home routine, employers will want to ensure their employees get back to work in a safe environment.   

The Wake Med Corporate & Community Health team will host a free live webinar on Tuesday, May 26th at 10:00 AM with the Wake Med Chief Medical Officer and a Family Nurse Practitioner to provide information about how to safely return to work. These two clinicians will discuss how to reduce risk of exposure for employees, infection control measures and cleaning guidelines, what to do if an employee becomes sick or symptomatic and where to direct employees for testing or appropriate healthcare.

Please sign up by visiting the designated link below.
Resources for People with Chronic Illness
The Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF) has been working to advocate for for chronically ill patients for over 20 years. Now, GHLF is providing specific resources for high-risk populations.
All of the information that GHLF has complied from patients, physicians, and health care practitioners is available in their free, online COVID-19 Patient Support Program . It is our hope that GHLF's resources might help address the unique needs of those constituents who are living with chronic disease during this global pandemic. 
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.
Town of Apex Rapid Recovery Loan Program
The Town of Apex is also pleased to announce that the “Apex Small Business Emergency Loan Program” is now accepting applications.

  • Interested businesses should fill out an application ASAP as they will be reviewed on a first come first serve basis.
  • The application process closes on Monday, May 18, 2020.
  • This is for businesses within the corporate limits of the Town of Apex or the ETJ.
  • Eligible businesses must have been in operation for a minimum of 1 year.
  • The maximum amount per loan is $50,000.

For more additional information on the terms, process, and documentation required please visit the link below
Wake Tech Offering Skills Training for Job Seekers
Due to the recent surge of lay-offs in all sectors of our economy, Wake Tech has increased its offerings of online resources and classes to help affected individuals get back into the workforce.

Career specialists assist with resume writing, interview skills, and career exploration. Find more information about services and classes offered at Wake Take by following the link below
Office Updates
May 6th Office Hours with Holly Springs Councilwoman Christine Kelly
If you missed my May 6th office hours Holly Springs Councilwoman, Christine Kelly, you can still access the video of that event by following the link below.
Girl Scouts: Girl Talk!
This month, I was glad to join the Girl Scouts of North Carolina - Coastal Pines Region for Girl Talk Tuesday on Instagram Live!

Their director of Advocacy and Educational Partnerships, Shinica Thomas, and I had a wonderful time chatting about what it's like to be a female leader in government.

Check out the full interview at the link below!