A state legislator from Fayetteville wants the General Assembly to return to Raleigh to budget money for Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts.
Rep. Billy Richardson, a Democrat whose district was hit hard by flooding, made the request Monday night to Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Tim Moore. McCrory has the power to call a special session of the legislature, which isn’t scheduled to meet again until January.
“What we have experienced in the last two weeks has devastated eastern North Carolina and Cumberland County,” Richardson wrote. “I believe it would be a terrible breach of our responsibility not to assist in at least a small way.”
Richardson notes that a similar special session was held after Hurricane Floyd in 1999. He wants the legislature to direct money from its rainy day fund to relief efforts.
“This will help our citizens whose lives have been turned upside down by this tragic storm to get back on their feet and rebuild our damaged and/or destroyed infrastructure,” Richardson wrote.
McCrory is working to secure disaster relief funding for affected counties but hasn’t said if he thinks a special session is needed. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Monday, the governor’s office announced that it has obtained a federal disaster declaration for 31 counties, which will make federal assistance available.
“This expedited declaration will help provide much needed and immediate federal assistance to communities impacted by Hurricane Matthew,” McCrory said in a news release. “I want to thank our federal partners for approving this declaration quickly and for their continued assistance.”
UPDATE: McCrory said Tuesday that two state disaster funds now have enough money, $18 million, to last until February.
“So at this point in time we don’t see a need to call a special session,” he said, but added he would do that if it became necessary.
Staff writer Jane Stancill contributed