State lawmakers return Wednesday to start their work for 2017, their first session sharing Raleigh with the Cooper administration. The News & Observer takes a look at four people and five issues that will matter this year. Get to know Dale Folwell, Darren Jackson, Bill Rabon and Sarah Stevens. Find out what the General Assembly could consider on taxes, election law, teacher and principal pay, House Bill 2 and Hurricane Matthew relief. And learn more about how the legislative process works.
RALEIGH After the state was clobbered by flooding from Hurricane Matthew in the east and wildfires in the west, the General Assembly didn’t hesitate.
By unanimous votes in both the House and Senate last month, a disaster relief bill worth more than $200 million was passed and sent to then-Gov. Pat McCrory, who had set up a task force to determine immediate needs and long-term planning for rebuilding flood-prone communities.
The Disaster Recovery Act of 2016 supplemented federal funding that was also funneled into the state, but it was still not enough. Budget writers acknowledged in December when the bill was enacted into law that the General Assembly would have to authorize additional money to continue the recovery and planning.
How much more money will be needed hasn’t been determined yet.
Funding has helped low-income people find housing. It has paid for debris removal, loans to small businesses and aid to help local governments build outside 100-year flood plains, repair waste-water and drinking-water systems and plan for more resilient development.