In 2020 Senate Republicans Delivered on Education, Criminal Justice Reform, COVID Relief, and Economic Lifelines

Raleigh, N.C. — While facing the dire and immediate impacts of a pandemic, Republicans in the Senate delivered legislative wins that positively impact the lives of everyday North Carolinians.

The bills passed in 2020 signal a strong dedication to improving the lives of North Carolinians from Murphy to Manteo.

As small businesses across the state begin recovering from Gov. Cooper’s economic shutdown, Senate Republicans introduced and passed bills to safely reopen restaurants and bars with additional seating space, as well as gyms, events venues, arcades, and a slew of other businesses who felt like they were arbitrarily shutdown. These bills are economic lifelines for business owners across the state who are facing the devastating decision of whether they’ll be able to reopen when the pandemic is over.

After years of practicing prudent budgeting, North Carolina is better prepared to weather the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, including providing teachers their annual experience-based salary increases and a bonus. That’s a vastly different response than when Democrats fired teachers and slashed their salaries in response to the last recession.

The Senate passed funding to make sure when schools reopen there will be enough money to cover enrollment growth. We funded critical projects at the University of North Carolina System schools and helped ensure the next generation of students can afford to attend college. We allocated $15 million for the N.C. Promise tuition program, which caps tuition at $500 per semester for North Carolina residents and $2,500 for out-of-state students at three colleges.

Senate Republicans fully funded the state’s Medicaid program to ensure the state’s most vulnerable patients will continue to receive the care they need, despite the economic crisis. We also appropriated $125 million for the Department of Health and Human Services for additional COVID-19 contact tracing, testing, and trend tracking so our state can continue to fight the virus.

Republicans have been dedicated to criminal justice reform and this year we saw major wins. The Second Chance Act and the First Step Act passed. The Second Chance Act provides an opportunity for individuals to have certain non-violent crimes expunged from their records. We know a criminal record can often be the barrier between obtaining a job or good housing, and individuals who have served their time and turned their lives around deserve the chance at a better life. The First Step Act allows judges sentencing discretion, so low-level drug offenders that have an addiction or mental health issues can get the help they need instead of spending years behind bars.

These are just some of the latest ways Republicans are working on behalf of North Carolinians. Take a look for yourself.

The official Medium account for N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press office.

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