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Republicans roll out plans for third North Carolina COVID-19 relief bill

(The Mountaineer) - Republican lawmakers plan to provide additional aid for a job retention program, assist parents with remote learning and increase unemployment benefits, broadband access and disaster relief when the North Carolina Legislature reconvenes Wednesday.

At the top of the list is creating the state's third coronavirus relief package from Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, which covers expenses through the end of the year. According to the General Assembly Fiscal Research Division, North Carolina has more than $900 million remaining out of its $3.5 billion in the CARES Act funding.

Republicans said they would use some of the federal aid to issue up to $50 more a week in unemployment compensation for North Carolinians. Unemployment workers in the state currently receive up to $350 in weekly benefits.

Sen. Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson, said the additional benefits would be issued until the funds expire Dec. 31. With the federal supplement of $300 a week, North Carolinians could get $700 a week.

Republicans plan to use $45.5 million to boost a job-retention program for small businesses.

Under the proposal, business owners can apply for up to two months of average payroll cost from the past year, plus an additional 25 percent, but no more than $250,000.