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Apr 27, 2020

NC Politics in the News

Agriculture

WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: N.C. gains two additional SNAP benefits from U.S. Agriculture Department
The U.S. Agriculture Department approved Friday two North Carolina requests for additional resources as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The department is allowing North Carolina to provide online purchasing of food to households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, also known as food stamps.

WBTV: COVID-19 outbreaks at NC food processing plants raises food supply chain concerns
As employees at food processing plants around the state get sick with COVID19, there are concerns about North Carolina’s food supply chain. There are outbreaks of COVID19 at five food processing facilities in the state. Tuesday, Mountaire Farms confirmed cases at their plants in Siler City and Lumber Bridge. “These workers are as essential as anybody else fighting the pandemic outbreak,” said N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. Troxler says any backup at the food processing plants could cause a disruption in the food supply chain.

WHQR: Farms Cope With Coronavirus Shutdown
Nearly 50,000 farms are spread across North Carolina, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Together, they bring in $76 billion annually. But many are struggling in the midst of an economic shutdown.


Economic Development

ABC 11: Raleigh small business owners could soon get up to $10,000 with Small Business Assistance Program
Applications aren't up on websites just yet, but Raleigh small business owners will soon be able to apply for and get up to $10,000 in grant money to deal with the pandemic's devastation on revenue. The Raleigh City Council unanimously approved the Small Business Assistance Program.


Education

WCNC: North Carolina schools to remain closed rest of the school year
Governor Roy Cooper announced Friday that North Carolina's K-12 public schools will remain closed for in-person learning the remainder of this school year due to COVID-19. Cooper said the decision was made after meeting with State Superintendent Mark Johnson and other state education leaders. Johnson said plans are already underway for the 2020-21 school year with hopes of getting schools back open in the fall. 

WSCOTV: NC Board of Education approves grading guidance for schools during pandemic
The North Carolina State Board of Education has approved further grading guidance for school districts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The board received a lot of input from people across the state, including students.


Healthcare

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Bill would give NC hospitals, doctors, nursing homes legal immunity during pandemic
Should North Carolina doctors, hospitals and nursing homes be shielded from criminal prosecution and lawsuits over treatment decisions they make concerning COVID-19? That’s a debate that could play out next week when the N.C. legislature gets back to work against the backdrop of a still unfolding pandemic.

WLOS: Mission Health begins removing emergency COVID-19 tents
Mission health says it's removing the emergency tents set up outside its hospitals. Officials say because they have not seen a widespread need for extra space due to COVID-19, they will come down over the next few weeks. If there's a need for the tents in the future, they say the tents can be reassembled in a matter of hours.


Government

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Gov. Cooper outlines budget plan for spending COVID-19 relief aid
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper presented an outline Friday for how he wants to spend $1.4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief in the state budget. The money is from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act. 

WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: Extended registration and inspection deadlines? Lawmakers to consider it this week.
Winston-Salem police officers are using their discretion on whether to issue citations on expired vehicle registration renewals and inspections, a police supervisor said Friday. Meanwhile, law enforcement officers within the N.C. Department of Public Safety, including the N.C. State Highway Patrol, are not making it a priority to enforce vehicle renewals and inspections, legislative leaders say.


Technology

WXII: North Carolina to start using drones to deliver critical medical supplies, food in COVID-19 response
State transportation officials announced a public-private partnership Wednesday that will use drones to deliver critical medical supplies and food during the COVID-19 response in North Carolina.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: North Carolina's tech industry pulls back on hiring amid coronavirus slowdown
North Carolina’s tech sector, which has long been one of the state’s fastest-growing sources of jobs, is pulling back on hiring because of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The number of tech job openings listed in North Carolina fell 5.7% in March compared to the same period last year, according to figures provided by the North Carolina Tech Association.

Transportation

TRANSPORTATION TODAY: North Carolina DOT: Impact of COVID-19 on revenue delays some transportation projects
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will delay some projects this year as efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a $300 million budget shortfall. NCDOT said because it is funded through motor fuels tax, highway use tax, and DMV fees, the dramatic fall in traffic volumes that resulted from stay-at-home orders have negatively impacted the department’s revenue stream. 

THE TIMES NEWS: North Carolina transportation officials announce layoffs
Temporary and contract workers face layoffs and a number of construction projects will be delayed because of a decline in tax revenues resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, the N.C. Department of Transportation said Tuesday.