What's Happening

Economy

Congress leaves town without a coronavirus stimulus deal, allowing $600 unemployment benefit to end

By Alanna Joyner / August 3, 2020

Another round of coronavirus relief package talks began today, as Congress adjourned for the weekend without coming to any deal on the program or a larger emergency stimulus package. The $600 weekly unemployment benefit that helped 32 million Americans stay afloat, officially ended on Friday — leaving unemployed Americans in limbo while Congress continues to…

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The News & Observer: With weekly $600 gone, NC unemployment benefits alone are not enough, workers say

By Alanna Joyner / July 29, 2020

As Congress debates how to shape the next phase of coronavirus relief, the extra $600 federal unemployment benefits that were legislated through the CARES Act have now expired for millions across the country.  The last payment rolled out this past weekend, as the House and Senate are considering different economic stimulus packages.  Instead of extending…

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Millions of Americans are about to experience utility shutoffs, evictions and loss of homes

By Alanna Joyner / July 28, 2020

Numerous moratorium on evictions across the nation, including in North Carolina, are set to end in the coming days. According to a Census Bureau survey, almost 24 million Americans say that they don’t expect to be able to make their next monthly rent or mortgage payment, as the blockage of utility charges and the eviction…

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Progressive Pulse: As the General Assembly adjourns, it leaves money on the table while needs go unmet

By Alanna Joyner / July 14, 2020

The General Assembly adjourned on Saturday, with lawmakers coming back into session on Sept. 2. In its most recent legislative session, Republican lawmakers did not set aside politics on many issues, but rather ignored public health officials and sought to force the reopening of the state. During an unprecedented moment, the demands of the wealthy…

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WRAL: Long-standing, unmet priorities are even more critical now

By Alanna Joyner / May 20, 2020

Two weeks after meeting to approve a $1.6 billion package that distributed COVID-19 funds from Washington, the North Carolina General Assembly resumed its annual session on Monday.  The N.C. Senate unveiled spending priorities on Tuesday for the coming fiscal year, rolling out more than 18 separate bills. The N.C. House has yet to lay out…

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NC legislature passes COVID-19 relief, without expanding jobless benefits or Medicaid

By Alanna Joyner / May 4, 2020

On May 2, the North Carolina General Assembly approved a $1.57 million COVID-19 relief package. Votes in both the House and the Senate during the Saturday session were unanimous, marking the legislature’s first response to the pandemic.  The $1.57 billion package contains funding for education, health care, small business loans, food banks, medical research, testing…

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News & Observer: The legislature needs to think big on how to respond to COVID-19

By Alanna Joyner / April 27, 2020

The North Carolina General Assembly convenes on Tuesday for its short session — the focus is only on temporary and immediate fixes in response to the current public health crisis. Several bills and summaries that the General Assembly will consider during the short session this week, include small business loans, resources for remote teaching, increased…

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200,000 NC residents have filed for unemployment benefits. Here’s how to apply.

By Alanna Joyner / March 27, 2020

Since March 16, North Carolina Division of Employment Security has reported over  200,000 new unemployment claims, of which applicants have filed their job loss due to COVID-19’s impact on their employment. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order on March 17, expanded access to unemployment benefits in an effort to minimize the economic impact of…

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Appalachian Voices: NC groups call for prohibition of all utility shut-offs in state due to covid-19

By Alanna Joyner / March 24, 2020

Over 30 North Carolina organizations are calling for the suspension of all utility shut-offs across the state during the coronavirus outbreak. In a letter addressed to the NC Utilities Commission, Governor Roy Cooper and key officials, the groups are urging for an immediate suspension of service disconnections and late payment fees for customers.  The letter…

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Senate passes ‘Families First Coronavirus Response Act’

By Alanna Joyner / March 23, 2020

A second coronavirus emergency aid package came into law last week, named the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The latest package includes a federal emergency paid-leave benefits program, free COVID-19 testing for the public and expanded unemployment benefits. The first emergency bill allocated over $8 billion for coronavirus prevention, preparation, and response efforts across the…

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