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Politics

Cooper Signs Two Hurricane Florence Relief Bills

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UNC-TV
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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed two bills into law Wednesday to provide relief for those impacted by Hurricane Florence.

One bill matches $50 million of federal funding specifically for Hurricane Florence relief and will extend voter registration until Oct. 15. Another bill will pay people who work at public schools for days they couldn’t work and lets schools in some counties miss up to 20 days.

The General Assembly passed the two bills in special session Tuesday. It was a rare example of both parties working together. 

“I think it’s an opportunity that reminds us that we’re not Republicans or Democrats or anything. We’re all human beings and we’re all people and we owe a duty to each other to take care of one another,” said House Speaker Tim Moore.

Cooper nodded to the act of bipartisanship in Wednesday’s statement, and said it needs to continue.

“Hurricane Florence has deeply wounded North Carolina, but working together, we’ll recover smarter and stronger,” he said. “When a storm rolls in, it doesn’t come with a party label and our response can’t either. I will continue working with legislators from both parties to help Florence survivors.”

North Carolina Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson told a joint House Senate Committee Tuesday morning that 1.2 million students had to miss school because of Hurricane Florence, and that many still aren’t back.

“Weeks after the storm made landfall, we still have over 100,000 students who are not in school,” Johnson said.

Although the legislation will help repair damaged schools, Johnson said there’s a major issue even when they re-open, since many students and teachers lost everything in the hurricane.

“Hurricane Florence, a category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, a scale that probably should be re-examined at this point, has churned eastern North Carolina into a pulp. A wet, moldy, hazardous and stinky pulp,” said Democrat Representative Deb Butler of New Hanover County, describing the damage in Wilmington.

The General Assembly will reconvene Oct. 15 to consider more hurricane recovery legislation.