Recent Hurricane Florence Relief Legislation in North Carolina
Recent Hurricane Florence Relief Legislation
Hurricane Florence Relief Legislation was desperately needed and on October 3, 2018. Governor Cooper signed House Bill 4, known as The Hurricane Florence Emergency Response Act, into law, and established The Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund. Hurricane Florence devastated central and southeastern North Carolina with heavy rainfall, record flooding, high storm surge, and dozens of deaths across the State. The impact of the storm resulted in the serious disruption of essential infrastructure.
Entire towns throughout eastern North Carolina were flooded to the rooftops. And as the record storm surge combined with water levels of rivers and streams crested at flood-stage heights far beyond those ever seen in the State. Over 880,000 people lost power, thousands were displaced from their homes, and 1,600 roads were closed throughout the State. The severity of the storm necessitated the assistance of thousands of emergency responders, National Guard members, and other volunteers to respond. Thirty-four (34) states have assisted North Carolina in addressing the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence. As of October 3, 2018, the President of the United States has declared twenty-eight (28) of the State’s counties to be major disasters.
North Carolinians lost their lives, their loved ones, their homes, their communities, their schools and houses of worship, their life savings, their businesses and places of employment, their possessions, their pets, and their ways of life. In the aftermath of the storm, North Carolinians are dealing with these difficult losses, and attempting to pick up the pieces in order to move forward.
Governor Cooper Signs House Bill
Governor Cooper enacted Hurricane Florence relief legislation and established The Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund. $56,500,000 was transferred into the Fund, to provide relief to and facilitate recovery efforts for citizens of North Carolina devastated from the Hurricane. $50 million of the Fund has been allocated for the purposes of providing the State match for federal disaster assistance programs. It also will pay for the costs and relief assistance authorized by statute in the North Carolina counties that have been designated as major disasters by the President of the United States, as a result of the Hurricane. Additionally, the State intends to review in 2018 and 2019, the funds appropriated by Congress for disaster relief, and consider actions necessary to address any remaining unmet needs of North Carolinians and the State as a whole.
Further, for counties designated under the major disaster declaration by the President of the United States, the Act extends the date to submit applications for voter registration for the November 2018 election until October 15, 2018, and encourages the coordination of State and local health departments to expedite mosquito control efforts, to prevent large populations of floodwater mosquitos from emerging and adversely impacting the public health and increasing the number of vector-borne illnesses.
The State has waived certain Division of Motor Vehicle Fees, including fees to obtain duplicate drivers licenses and CDL licenses and other fees. Additionally, the Governor retained the right to waive fees assessed by city and county building inspectors that would otherwise be credited to the Homeowners Recovery Fund. Permit applicants are allowed a refund of any fee assessed and collected by city or county building inspectors and waived pursuant this Act. To read the legislation in its entirety, please click this link.