The General Assembly adjourned for the year and approved a final round of COVID-19 relief on September 3rd, unless additional funding is appropriated by the federal government. HB 1105 does not go far enough to meet the needs of everyone in North Carolina, but it will provide much-needed assistance for many people and state agencies that are in need of additional funding. Below, I will summarize what is good in the bill and what should have been included but was left out.

The Good
  • A provision to hold local school districts harmless if their average daily enrollment falls below anticipated levels. This means school districts will not suffer from funding cuts in the middle of the school year because of a decline in enrollment this year.
  • $50 increase in weekly unemployment insurance compensation (more on this in the “What’s Missing” section)
  • $335 direct check to families with children
  • $52 million in funding for public schools (more on this in the “What’s Missing” section)
  • $30 million in additional grants to expand high-speed Internet access
  • $20 million in funding to stabilize operations at North Carolina museums, zoos, and other cultural attractions
  • $6 million in direct assistance to food banks and nutritional programs
  • $14 million for personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • $18 million in funding for the UNC System & community colleges
  • $41 million for early childhood services
  • $38 million for mental health services
  • $59 million to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing
  • $3.5 million for small business grants (More on this in the “What’s Missing” section)

What’s Missing
  • Medicaid Expansion. Medicaid Expansion would help hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians access affordable health insurance, bring billions of dollars to NC from the federal government, and would help our economy by creating thousands of new jobs in our healthcare industry.
  • Pay increases or bonuses for teachers and public school employees. HB 1105 does $0 for public employees. Governor Cooper’s proposal included $2000 for teachers and principals, $1000 for other public school employees, and $1500 for community college and university employees.
  • Significant investment in public schools needed to satisfy our state constitutional guarantee of a sound public education to all students as required by recent court orders.
  • Assistance to small businesses most impacted by COVID-19, such as restaurants, bars, gyms, etc.
  • Fixing the long-term problem that NC’s unemployment system is the worst in the country for unemployed workers.
  • Significant assistance to local governments.

I voted yes on the bill because it was important that our legislature spend the COVID-19 response money we received from the Federal Government by the December spending deadline. A majority of this funding will go on to help people who are in great need, but I am still greatly concerned about some of the bills provisions and about the lack of transparency in the drafting. HB 1105 was drafted in backrooms by a few GOP leaders with no input from the public, Democratic legislators, or Governor Cooper. GOP leadership prevented lawmakers from offering any amendments to the bill in the House. This is not how representative democracy should work.

I also have some serious reservations about portions of the bill that deregulate childcare in our state, and I invite you to continue reading the rest of this newsletter to learn more about those provisions in this bill.
Reminder: although the General Assembly has adjourned, 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 [email protected] or by calling 919-715-0795.

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

Representative Julie von Haefen
HB 1105 & Deregulating Child Care Centers
On September 3rd, the legislature passed HB 1105 which appropriated $49 million to support early education remote learning opportunities. Of that total appropriation, $35 million will provide operating grants to support childcare centers engaging in remote learning, $8 million will directly assist parents who are struggling to afford childcare, and $6 million will provide personal protective equipment for childcare centers. I am glad this funding was included in the budget, and I voted yes on the bill because it is important that this funding reaches our childcare centers as soon as possible.

However, I have some serious reservations about portions of the bill that deregulate childcare in our state. You can watch a video of my floor remarks about those issues, here.
I was interviewed by the ABC TV station in Charlotte for a story about HB1105 and the unfortunate lack of safety measures required for new child care centers during remote learning. Rushing this legislation through the General Assembly without input or the opportunity to amend the bill resulted in major loopholes in child care regulation.

What does HB 1105 change about the childcare industry?
  • Does not require centers to report COVID-19 infection data.
  • Expands the types of organizations that qualify for as childcare facilities
  • Does not require new child care facilities (even those offering on-site care for children) to have staff on hand with CPR and First Aid training.
  • Does not require new remote child care centers to run background checks on their employees. 

I am concerned that portions of this bill will make our early childhood education centers less safe for children, families, and employees. Unfortunately, members of the House were unable to file amendments on the budget bill, and we were not able to address these issues. 
COVID-19 Update
Extra Credit Grant Program for Parents FAQs

The latest round of COVID-19 relief includes a $335 payment to parents with children. Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the grant.

Who gets the $335 grant?
Eligible individuals who report at least one qualifying child on their 2019 state individual income tax return. Spouses who file a joint state return count as one individual.

I’m a parent with a child. How do I get the payment?
If you filed a state tax return in 2019, you do not have to do anything to receive the grant.
If you did NOT file a state tax return in 2019 (typical of some lower income families), you will need to fill out a grant application by October 15, 2020. There is no grant application yet, but it should online here soon. When the grant application is available, I will help spread the word about it to families who may be eligible.

I have more than one child. Do I get multiple $335 grants?
No. The grant is $335 regardless of how many children you have.

When will I get the money?
We do not know for sure, but no later than December 15, 2020.

Is the credit available to everyone with children?
The grant program is tied to the federal tax credit for children. The income cutoff for the federal tax credit is $400,000 for married couples and $200,000 for other filers. If you are near this cutoff, you may want to talk with a tax professional.

I am a North Carolina resident now, but was not in 2019 when I filed a tax return in another state. Do I get the credit?
Again, I recommend talking to a tax professional about your personal circumstances, but the General Assembly’s fiscal staff analysis states you must be a North Carolina resident in 2019 to receive the grant.

How much is this costing taxpayers?
No state revenue is being used. The program will cost $440 million in federal COVID-19 funding that could have been used for other purposes like teacher and public employee bonuses.
Governor Cooper Announces $40 million to Connect Students & Communities to High Speed Internet
Last week Governor Cooper announced nearly $40 million in funding for NC Student Connect, a new partnership created to address internet connectivity gaps that are a barrier to remote learning for many North Carolina students. When school resumed in August, superintendents estimated that at least 100,000 students still lacked a reliable internet connection at home.

Many North Carolina students are currently attending school remotely and need reliable internet access to be able to connect with their teachers and access their lessons. Students who are attending school onsite may also need internet access at home to be able to complete assignments.

The NC Student Connect investment includes:
  • $30 million to distribute 100,000 wireless high speed hot spots for students to connect with their remote learning classes.
  • $8 million to create accessible sites in convenient locations across the state such as school parking lots, municipal areas, and state parks, museums and historic sites. These NC Student Connect sites will provide free high-speed internet for students to connect to the Internet to download lessons and complete assignments offline.
  • $2 million for educator professional development, parent training and student involvement in a spectrum of activities that go into effective remote learning.

More than 1,300 educators from rural North Carolina already participated in a virtual conference focused on remote learning to help them be better prepared to teach throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Golden Leaf Rapid Recovery Loan Program
The most recent budget bill passed by the General Assembly (HB 1105) made some changes and expanded some services for the NC Rapid Recovery Loan Program administered by the Golden Leaf Foundation.

Some of those modifications include:

  • Increased period of deferred payments and lengthen total term to ease burden on businesses.
  • Increased amount of funding available to each business (up to $250,000)
  • Allow businesses with up to 150 FTEs to be eligible.

Businesses interested in applying should:
1. Visit as well as the FAQ -

2. Call Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) at 800-228-8443

Businesses that have already received a loan are eligible for these new terms as well. Their lender will be in touch with details soon.
Office Updates
Absentee Ballot Tracking
Absentee by-mail voters in North Carolina can now find the status of their ballot by using BallotTrax!

Voters who vote by mail may use BallotTrax to track the status of their ballot from when it is mailed to when it is received by the county board of elections. BallotTrax allows NC voters with valid absentee ballot requests to create an account. Once the account is created, voters will be able to:

  • Log in to view the status of their absentee by-mail request and ballot. This includes confirmation that the county board of elections has received the request, that the ballot has been mailed to the voter and that the completed ballot has been received by the county board of elections.
  • Learn if their ballot cannot be accepted because of issues such as a missing signature or witness information. If this occurs, the county board of elections will provide information to the voter on how to correct the issue.
  • Sign up for email, text, and/or voice alerts for status updates.

Voters will see one of several statuses, including Requested, when an absentee request form is received by the County Board of Election, and Accepted, when the returned ballot is accepted by the county board of elections. Accepted generally means the county board of elections has received the ballot, the return envelope has no apparent issues, and the ballot will be counted. If the county board of elections subsequently finds an issue (the envelope is opened and there is no ballot inside, for example) then that status will change and the voter will be contacted. Click here for more information on creating an account in BallotTrax.