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State House passes $1.7B in federal COVID relief funding

RALEIGH — The North Carolina House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation on Wednesday directing $1.7 billion of additional relief funding to meet immediate needs in North Carolina communities. House Bill 196 2021 COVID-19 Response & Relief Act extends COVID-19 regulatory relief for North Carolinians in addition to significant funding. The bill directs more than $600 million statewide for testing, tracing and prevention needs, as well as $100 million for K-12 public school needs and $290 million for higher education emergency relief. It includes another $40 million to support summer learning programs in addition to education funds approved by the legislature last month. House Bill 196 also provides funds for farms, fisheries, food banks, small business grants, broadband, mental health and substance abuse services, and upgrades to the N.C. COVID Vaccine Management System, among other allocations. Rep. Jeff Zenger released the following statement in response to the passage of H196:

“I am happy we were able to pass this bill in a timely manner and with unanimous support to help families in need.” Said Rep Zenger

“The General Assembly is committed to delivering additional funding relief and regulatory flexibility to help North Carolinians still suffering in this crisis as soon as possible,” the Senior House Appropriations Chairs said in a joint statement. “This relief measure builds on our successful approach to addressing the top priorities of North Carolinians early in this legislative session.”

The bill awaits further action for the state Senate.