Last week in the North Carolina General Assembly began and ended on Monday the 15th. We expanded the legislation for Hurricane Florence recovery that we had begun two weeks earlier before returning to our districts in time for early voting, which started Wednesday. A lot of work had gone on for two weeks, along with close communication among the House, Senate, and the Governor’s office.
The results of the work and coordination came out as Senate Bill 3 – 2018 Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Act. There was also an identical companion bill, House Bill 3, but it was decided to take up the Senate bill instead. Senator Rabon was a sponsor of the bill, and I was a sponsor of the House bill. Senate Bill 3 passed the Senate 43 – 0, and passed the House 111 – 0. We finished and adjourned around 9:00 p.m. Monday night.
Senate Bill 3 makes available $849 million for Hurricane Florence recovery, and appropriates $394.5 million at this time. Of the $849 million the Savings Reserve or “Rainy Day Fund” provides over $700 million. Other availability comes from the lottery, highway funds, and other smaller funds.
Some of the appropriations include:
- $65 million for state match for Federal Disaster Assistance,
- $65 million for state match for Federal Transportation Assistance,
- $20 million for state match for USDA federal farmer assistance,
- $95 million for repair and renovation of public school facilities, 3 university campuses, and affected community colleges,
- $16.5 million for grants for tuition, etc., to keep students in school,
- $5 million to DHHS for behavioral health services in affected counties,
- $.5 million for independent rural hospitals,
- $2 million for mosquito abatement,
- $4.5 million for the SNAP and EPAP programs, nutrition and prescription drugs,
- $2 million for coastal beach and dredging assessment,
- $1.6 million commercial fishing assistance, and $.4 million marine debris cleanup,
- $5 million small business recovery,
- $50 million agriculture recovery,
- $33 million housing recovery,
- $28 million local government infrastructure and staff assistance, and
- $ .9 million assistance to volunteer fire departments.
There is established an Office of Recovery and Resiliency under the Dept. of Public Safety to better facilitate disaster recovery and public information. This bill has an initial appropriation of $2 million to establish the office.
All these appropriations are the first steps in recovery in these different areas. In November, after more assessments come in, we will be back to consider the balance of the funds for Hurricane Florence and also respond to Hurricane Michael.