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The NC General Assembly Tuesday passed two bills in special session to provide relief from Hurricane Florence. It was a rare example of both parties working together.
“I think it’s an opportunity that reminds us that we’re not Republicans or Democrats or anything. We’re all human beings and we’re all people and we owe a duty to each other to take care of one another,” said House Speaker Tim Moore.
One bill matches $50 million of federal funding specifically for Hurricane Florence relief, and will extend voter registration until Oct. 15. Another bill will pay people who work at public schools for days they couldn’t work, and lets schools in some counties miss up to 20 days.
State Schools superintendent Mark Johnson told a joint House Senate Comittee that 1.2 million students had to miss school because of Hurricane Florence, and that many still aren’t back. “Weeks after the storm made landfall, we still have over 100,000 students who are not in school,” said Johnson.
Although the legislation will help repair damaged schools, Johnson says there’s a major issue even when they re-open, since many students and teachers lost everything in the hurricane.
“Hurricane Florence, a category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, a scale that probably should be re-examined at this point, has churned eastern North Carolina into a pulp. A wet, moldy, hazardous and stinky pulp,” said Democrat Reprsentative Deb Butler of New Hanover County, describing the damage in Wilmington.
The General Assembly is set to reconvene on Oct. 15 to consider more hurricane recovery legislation.