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Political notebook: Tillis says Cooper’s plan to reopen state in line with White House guidance

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis last week said in a statement that Gov. Roy Cooper’s three-phase plan to reopen the state’s economy is in line with the White House Coronaviris Task Force’s recommended guidance.

Cooper outlined a plan Thursday. Phase one would allow people to travel to places that aren’t currently deemed essential, gatherings would still be limited to no more than 10 people, teleworking would continue, stores and their customers would continue to be asked to adhere to social distancing and wear face coverings. Phase two would lift the stay-at-home order and allow restaurants, bars, gyms and personal care services to open if they can follow safety protocols. Vulnerable populations would be encouraged to continue to stay at home.

Phase three would increase capacity at gatherings or businesses and lessen restrictions for vulnerable populations.

“I’ve long said that we all need to do our part on social distancing and put the peak of the curve in our rear-view mirror before we can begin to safely reopen our economy,” Tillis stated.

Tillis said he knows many families and small businesses are suffering, and he shares the urgency to get the economy back up and running.

Civitas Action: Cooper’s plan is ‘slow walk into a deeper economic recession

Civitas Action, a conservative nonprofit organization, released a statement Thursday in response to Gov. Roy Cooper’s plan to reopen the economy. The statement said Cooper continues to rely on “blanket orders” for a large and diverse state. A one-size fits all policy doesn’t work for North Carolina, the group said.

“Gov. Cooper’s version of phased-reopening is a slow-walk into a deeper economic recession,” Civitas Action wrote. “If the most hopeful part of phase 1 is that parks can reopen and possibly some retailers, although that remains unclear, then I question whether the governor’s administration understands the financial strain that the state’s citizens are under.”

Civitas requested answers from Cooper’s COVID-19 Task Force, which include:

• Gov. Cooper referenced members of the business community providing advice. Who are these members of the business community?

•When did planning for the phase-in begin?

• Is Gov. Cooper consulting with other states?

• Is Gov. Cooper consulting with the Department of Agriculture for the needs of the agricultural community?

• Outside of stimulus spending, what policies would Gov. Cooper like to see to spur the economy back to life?

NC Senate won’t consider budget veto this week

Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-30, announced when the General Assembly returns for the legislative short session Tuesday that it would not reconsider overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget last year.

The House voted to override the governor’s veto in September.

“When we come back into session next week our focus will be on providing relief for North Carolina citizens suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Berger said in a statement. “Our state’s financial outlook is in a vastly different place than it was before this pandemic hit. Because of that, we will not be reconsidering the veto of the state budget this year.”

Berger said the budget will be impact by a multi-billion dollar revenue shortfall.

“In order to ensure that we can continue to operate basic government services into the next fiscal year, it’s more prudent to keep operating on the certified budget,” he stated.

Tillis, Burr push for relief for rural broadcaster, local newspapers in pandemic

U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr recently joined a bipartisan letter with 73 of their colleagues to the Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought to support radio and televisions broadcasters and local newspapers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter also states many federal agencies maintain advertising accounts in order to provide public notices and information to Americans, such as the Census Bureau receives funding to run advertisements for the 2020 Census, and state and local governments advertise new programs and information.

“We encourage the Office of Management and Budget to work with federal agencies throughout the government to increase advertising in local newspapers and on broadcast stations in order to help ensure they are able to continue to operate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter stated.

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