NC Gov. Cooper calls for special session to deal with Hurricane Florence recovery

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Gov. Roy Cooper called Thursday for state lawmakers to return to Raleigh for a special session to fund initial recovery needs from Hurricane Florence.

“As I’ve traveled around the state surveying damage and meeting with people who have lost everything, it’s clear that the destruction in eastern North Carolina is historic,” Cooper said in a statement Thursday night. “Now is the time to come together and begin the work of rebuilding our communities and making families whole.”

Cooper wants the General Assembly to return Oct. 9, according to a release from his office.

The storm has killed 31 people in North Carolina.

“Recovery is beginning in many places,” Cooper said Thursday. “But for some communities, today is still a matter of life and death.”

The legislature returned to Raleigh two months after Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina in 2016 to pass disaster relief bills.

In addition to financial decisions, state lawmakers may need to provide an exemption for school districts in the areas hardest hit by Florence. State law requires schools to be in session for 185 days or 1,025 hours of instruction per year.

But some state leaders, including N.C. Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson and House Speaker Tim Moore, want to ease statewide attendance requirements for counties affected by the storm, The News & Observer reported Wednesday.

“So many families’ lives are being uprooted right now and anything we can do to make their lives easier, we need to do,” Moore said in a statement.