Senators File Bill to Extend Extra Credit Grants, Fund Vaccine Preparedness, School Emergency Relief, and Rental Assistance

Rural Broadband Funding Deal Included, Provides New Deadlines for CARES Act Spending

Raleigh, N.C. — Today, the Senate Appropriations Chairs filed a bill that gives parents additional time to apply for the $335 Extra Credit Grant, expands rural broadband, and allocates new federal COVID-19 relief funds. The bill also grants CARES Act fund recipients to spend COVID relief money through Dec. 31, aligning with Congress’s updated spending extension guidelines.

Senate Bill 36 follows through on the broadband deal between Gov. Cooper and the legislature, securing funding for an additional round of the GREAT Grant Program, helping more rural communities gain access to high-speed internet. The $39 million will come from the state’s General Fund, instead of the CARES Act funding.

As North Carolina continues to fight COVID-19 it is imperative that we administer vaccines as quickly as possible. North Carolina received nearly $95 million from the federal government, which will help providers, local health departments, and hospitals get shots into the arms of those who want it.

An additional $1.6 billion will be available for schools in this bill to help assist the reopening process and to ensure our students, teachers, and staff can safely return to in-person learning.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is eligible for more than $546 million in federal COVID-19 relief money. An additional $155 million in rental assistance will go directly to eligible local governments with more than 200,000 residents.

“This bill builds on of our commitment to helping North Carolinians recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Senate budget writers Sens. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson), Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston), and Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) said. “These funds are absolutely critical. They’ll allow us to help get vaccinations to those who want them and aid those who need it the most. North Carolina is set to receive several billion dollars of aid in the coming weeks, and we anticipate more bipartisan work to be done to lift us out of the pandemic.”

Senate Bill 36 is scheduled to be heard in Senate Appropriations on Feb. 2, but legislators expect additional COVID-19 legislation to be filed in the coming weeks.