Moore discusses bar bill, state budget
House Speaker Tim Moore says more legislation like the measure to reopen bars during the pandemic is likely in the coming weeks unless Gov. Roy Cooper eases restrictions. Moore also said lawmakers will look to pass mini-budgets this year because taking on a full budget would be too difficult with everything else going on.
good afternoon. It's good to be with you today. As you know, we just wrapped up session today. What? We really dealt with a lot of issues and want to deal with that is as well, a sort of the broader picture where we are. With respect. Thio 19. You know the Legislature's work very hard to meet these challenges during these unprecedented times. We worked to make sure that we're dealing with all of the various issues from health care. Challenges to unemployment to education have been very pleased with the wide amount of bipartisan and unanimous legislation that we have that we have passed. But we're in a situation today where we still have very, very many businesses in this state that closed down, and we have a serious of executive orders that air that simulation, causing some issues. I thought I would touch on that and share some of the data that we're that we're seeing. First off, it does seemed to a lot of members of the Legislature that current executive wars seem to be picking winners and losers in my that you have certain businesses that you can you can go to up Teoh Lowe's Wal Mart. You go to a retail store and the rules there that you simply say so many feet apart that there are protocols in place to protect the employees and do things. But then you have certain businesses like, for example, hotels that may have a very large banquet room that can hold hundreds and hundreds of people, but they're limited to only 10. And so there are some there, some Incan groupings, incongruities and inconsistencies in the executive order. The legislation that way, passed just a few moments ago that had to deal with some of the other dining establishments and businesses in the state, recognizes the frustration with the current executive work. That was a bill that, of course, passed Senate 42 to 5. Every well, bipartisan and while passing the house on a bipartisan basis only got a handful of Democrats to join with Republicans to support that. So certainly would like to see us continue the bipartisanship, but understand sometimes how these things work. You know, we have a lot of businesses in the state that are really dealing with just inordinate challenges, everything from being able to find folks to work to being able to actually operate, and I think what we should be doing at the government level is to make sure that we're doing all we can to make sure it's safe, that we provide safeguards to ensure the safety of the public, the safety of the workers and also ensure that these businesses can operate under those guidelines. But that, but that it be consistent. We've seen a number of things when it comes to cover 19 that are good. We've seen a few things that trouble Let me deal with both of those, first of all, in terms of where we are. Remember when we started with this with this? This came on the same weeks ago. A lot of unknown things, all of the models, virtually all of the models that were they talking about what was going to happen, predicted many more cases, many more hospitalizations and many more deaths. So the good news is that all of those predictions that predicted the hundreds of thousands of within this state of these type things there's fortunately have not country. We're very fortunate and we're seeing that North Carolina has has been consistent with some of our other States. We've had some of guidelines, but in place of limitations on commerce and things, we've had neighboring states that have more loose stands. But if you track the other states that there's not a huge difference between the rates of infection, rates of death and hospitalizations. So this this, uh, this virus is is a is unique. It's something that's new is something we've all had to deal with, and in all of these secondary effects as a result of it again, or just something has been completely unprecedented. We're hoping today that the bill we passed that the governor will together will sign that bill way we need to protect all these small businesses while at the same time actually those interests against the need to protect the public down. We've got a lot of things on unanimous basis, never wrong. We've passed legislation that has provided emergency funding. We passed legislation providing personal protective. We put record amounts of money into health care systems throughout this state, and we've been able to do all of those things sometimes unanimous, but always in a bipartisan way. So we certainly hope that this will. This will continue the issue right now, the reason that we needed to pass this bill is currently under the governor's executive order. Unless we act for another four weeks, another four weeks, another month, all of these businesses big Met, negatively impacted. But all of these people who count on their livelihoods of the impact and there's no real correlation between the way the rules or drawn right now, but in between protecting the health and balancing that against the other interest something that we've also seen, which is, which shows that most of this window with is not community spread, but it's primarily in congregant living are the statistics if you look at where the where the deaths have been with widespread infections, these have been in Congress living, nursing homes, assisted living in a course in prisons where folks are very densely packed. Way discovered some information really yesterday and today. And I'm gonna be instructing the House Health Committee to look into this because I think it deserves further enquire that where it appears that at least with the data, we've been shown that several weeks ago that when elderly patients were being discharged from the hospitals that there was a directive from the Department of Health and Human Services that they not be tested for Kobe 19 before returning to these facilities. Now think about that. That that's that's one group that you want to make certain is being tested. That's where the case is on. And so we're gonna We're gonna look at that, see if that information is active. We have information from public health care systems in the state that that will be presented the next week through that. But we're going to We're going to ask those questions because we want to know why that happened on If if there was a reason for it and find out to find out all the facts will that so? Okay, with 19 those are the issues we've been dealing with. We know on the debate that's out there. We're going to continue to try to work with the governor, to see them, to build consensus what we can, but where we disagree, do so respectfully. But it's part of the checks and balances will assert our rights is the legislative branch will continue to do so. Move on to something else mentioned. So many things have passed on a bipartisan basis. Very proud of the bipartisan bill we passed today dealing with the elections. Bipartisan elections active 2020 will make sure as we move into the elections this fall, that we do not have this mass voting by mail. We've seen some lawsuits filed by organizations on the far left that since you want to mandate that balance, simply go out in the mail without folks even asking for that. Want to allow what's called ballot harvesting? Many of you may know we had had to rerun a congressional race in the ninth District over ballot harvest, where folks, we're going out and actually getting folks to sign a form, having their balance into going back, collecting the ballot, turning him in. I mean, we had to just redo a congressional race over that. So we passed legislation last year that said, You can't do that. Well, some of the left now we're trying to mandate and actually not only reversed that, but actually condone it and required in certain cases. So this bill make sure make certain that we're not going to have any kind of ballot harvesting takes care of that gets that issue off the table. It also expands the types of photo I D that could be used for voter i d. Now, While that bill did not deal with Variety, that is something that was ever well, overwhelmingly approved by the voters of this state of the Constitution. And it's something that should be implemented as the voters asked in 2020 elections of this fall. You know, we need to protect the integrity of these elections at the same time protecting the voters. This bill strikes that bounce. It puts in place a number of safeguards to protect voters, poll workers to allow access to the mountain and for those who wish to vote by mail, makes the clarifies the current procedure we have. It changes a couple things one instead of were having have two witnesses. You won't have to have one, but those you've ever seen these in the past. You have two witnesses requested, but it's just sometimes be a scribble. You can't even read it. Now you have to actually have the printed name and address of the person who has requested about. And it makes clear that when it comes to those ballots that family members guardians someone with a with an actual connection with the voters, one that actually gets gets those ballots. And turns out the third thing that we're doing with right now is the budget. We passed three stand alone budget bills that were fun, critical needs. Today one is to fund the Workforce Housing Initiative, which does a lot of great work about housing to North Carolinians throughout the state. The funds to fund the communications infrastructure for public services, the network called Viper to find out, provide those funds. And to really continue to move these things down the road, we also recognize, with the budget shortfall that we have, that we have to be thinking broad. No doubt those in the media and those who watching may have heard that our state has a short film. Before this happened, North Carolina was in a great position. Lowest unemployment rates and decades taxes the among the lowest in the country economy strong. Everything right in this thing called covert 19 shows up and changes everything around well, where we've seen now have a $24 billion budget. We're projecting a $4.2 billion shortfall for this next year. On top of that, we're looking at an additional roughly half $1,000,000,000 in additional Medicaid cost, and there we see we have a short following the OT of around 700. So you put all those things together some additional costs. It's not the best budget cycle that will be dealing with, but we're moving forward with making the adjustments we need to. We're locating the funds we have. We have a lot of money set aside because we budget wisely have 1.2 billion and our savings reserved. We have 1.7 billion un appropriated, and we have about $1.9 billion in federal funds that presently we can't use to feel holds. But we're hoping to get that guidance and that and that approval to move forward. So that's where that is now. Bot. There's been a lot of issues with the tea. We'll get into all of that. But simply to say that we're gonna be demanding a series of reforms for the governor's office and the department to implement that we will be running legislation to do that, to put more oversight and controls ever spending because you have an agency that two years ago had about a $2 billion roughly surplus that now has spent down to its an emergency reserves. And so it's gonna need to be stabilized in some way. But I can tell you that this General Assembly is not one simply just throw more money at this without making sure their safeguards in place that we don't get here again. So we're looking to do that because we just mentioned to you we have a shortfall in revenue. We're looking at a bomb proposal right now. Proposed was $1.5 billion bomb proposal general obligation bond that voters will decide upon. I think the bettors will support it because in this growing state, we know that with everything else going on we're going, we still need to be able to get from point A to point B. And we see a lot of congestion around the state. A lot of safety issues with transportation, and you just can't ignore your transportation infrastructure. So I sense a lot of support for that. Additionally way. Having the same bond $800 million for construction for K 12 across the state from school systems large and small for the construction of you schools and the repair renovation of older schools. $600 million for the University of North Carolina for some badly needed infrastructure there. Construction. That's been that we've been seeking for years and then $200 million for our state's community columns. And during these tough economic times, 11 thing is that money is cheap, the rate in the cost tomorrow is low. It is a good time to leverage the state's debt. But to do so responsibly, of course, and that way we can keep taxes low. We can take advantage of lower construction calls and actually see some projects projects implemented. I would also say that if you look at where we are as a state, compared to many other states, it shows that the responsible fiscal reforms and procedures we have used these last years or work some of other states New York, Illinois, California, all around the country have massive, huge shortfalls. I think, uh, you know, in a way, maybe $42 billion so huge shortfalls and North Carolina, while we have a shortfall, it is something that we with from assistance commanding some of these other states, they have no way of making these things work. They haven't funded retirement systems, they haven't done a lot of things. And we've been very four thinking so that we're in good position to be able to do that. And I think it's important to point out that we've done that while at the same time we've had two hurricanes come through in the last few years, we've had a lot of things hit the state. We've been able to maintain the great fiscal environment that we've had and continuing to work through that you're also going to see his continue to in invest in broadband, making sure we're getting the Internet out there. One thing we knew from from the Cove in 19 when our students were having a word from homes, that there still are a lot of gaps and Internet coverage around the state. So we're going to continue to invest in that as well, and we're allocating looking at these funds to be able to do so With respect to the Cares Act. We're also going to continue to sleep flexibility from the federal government to be able to use those funds to fill. In the short fall that we've had, we have about $1.9 billion that we spend 1.6 in the cove in 19 legislation that passed unanimously, that reserved 1.9 that we can use to find critical needs once we get clearance from the federal government. So we're gonna look at using that as well as the $300 million for the for transportation where we are as far as moving forward this session. It is our intent to advance a series of small appropriations bills. Usually we pass one large omnibus budget, but the circumstances of this year just do not make that practical at this point. We know there are things that we need to find. We need to move that legislation. So we're gonna pass a series of those bills. The House passed three bills today. The Senate passed three bills. I would expect to see more bills coming up. Some examples would be the Western campus with school science and math. That will be one that news here. In short order the funding for the new steam plant in Western Carolina University. Those bills that were we've been able to locate funds through some reserve accounts, move those over and spend those. So we don't endanger the overall general fund that we have this year. So we're gonna do that. Of course, as we move through the summer, hopefully we'll get more guidance and be able to tap into that 1.9 million, which frankly, would be a game changer. But we're going to go. Where we are in. Our plan would be to try to adjourn before July 4th and forces. We need to come back later and make some other reparations. We can always do that. They find those critical needs and otherwise, to allow the continuing resolution to keep government living as it is. So that's where we are. It's been a spend a very busy week, and I'm glad to take any questions. Can you go into some more detail about what you said regarding elderly patients? Discharged told What's physically hurt about that is a documentation of this. What exactly told way? We've seen some documentation. We understand some others forthcoming, and that's why what have the wife we have approached this to say? I want the committee to look into this and see that there was some guidance issued by HHS that hospitals should not test these patients unless they were clearly displaying symptoms of Cove in 19 in order to conserve PP. But that's that's we want to find out why that was the case. We want to find out what happened, how far reaching and wide that that waas and simply look at that. But that was some information that was brought to us, frankly, by some health care professionals who were concerned about. But I don't want to get out too far ahead of the committee and where they are, because I think that that deserve it's on here. You know how go this was going on it waas uh, with the mitt and like time I would leave for a lot of people you'd be ramped up, but again, we want to give the benefit, uh, give a bid for the Nazi with that committee hearing shows and get their backs out there. I'm not sure what point they were beginning to think that asymptomatic people should be tested. Do you know when you know? I don't know, and that's that's gonna be part of the questions. But we did always know that the super high risk post for those who were elderly, this who had underlying health conditions and those who were in Congress facilities. So if you had an elderly person being who was sick being discharged from the hospital, being returned to a congregant living facility, that's all three elements right there, you would think that those would be the photos that should be tested. I disagree. Okay, quick question for you. First, you probably heard what we may not. In the Pennsylvania Legislature, a GOP lawmaker tested positive and didn't tell his colleagues. I don't know whether it was told to one pockets and not the other, but anyway is a big sort of rockets going on right now about that in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Do you have a plan in place here in the North Carolina Legislature? In case a legislator of either party should test positive for four? Absolutely. And in fact, for for everyone who comes in the legislature, you know, when you come in this building, your temperatures check members of the public members of the media as well, as well as members of the Legislature. So that's That's the first step we're trying to screen than anybody coming in this building to make sure they're not symptomatic. We've also asked folks who think they are sick to stay away to, not whether their staff members of the public again or remember way also have. When it comes to what we've, we've engaged in this proxy grating where folks are able to be home. We've had very many of these virtual committee meetings, and when we have had in person committee meetings, as you've probably seen, looks or spaced out way used the very large committee rooms. So we're using all those protocols that CDC recommends, so we're doing all those things. But to your point, what if you have a situation where evil with doing following all these protocols, you have a member of that that comes down with covert 19? Certainly what we would do is number one. We would we would immediately locate who all they have been in contact with. We would file with protocol as far as cleaning that personal enforced be asked to go to quarantine, Any folks who came in contact with him would be tested and when be asked to quarantine as well, and we would make there's accommodation so we would continue. They would continue doing that. Unfortunately, we haven't had that happen. But and I and I think that goes to the point that if you look at a while, the community spread that its way, see, is mostly happening and there's there's types of facilities, but it certainly in spreading. And I won't be very clear. This means Syria. This is a serious disease. Me. The whole world has stopped in many ways because so the key is bouncing. What his ball means a very serious, very serious health care issue with the other factors that we have to wait. But we do have this protocols, except, I mean, you're just of the seriousness of the issue that you kind of downplaying the community spread issue. But the governor okay, so what? The governor said it. He said this legislation would mean that even if there is a service that overwhelmed hospitals and the bars will stay open, I believe there is a time when we can open bars with that time is now. What do you say that I mean that does. If there is communities right, if there's more of it that we know about what the governor can always issue a new emergency order, argue executive order based on emergency circumstances. And I wouldn't even notwithstanding this bill, he could still do that. And so this doesn't tie his hands and limit him from being able to do that. Should something happen and I want to point out when this thing's when this, when this thing started, all of us said absolutely need to have this complete and total shutdown and now it's now it's a phased in approach. What needs to happen is it needs to make sense. I just don't see the reason why you would treat one business different than enough. The protocol is masking in certain cases sanitation, extra cleaning, ventilation, for example, eating, being outside vs inside all that minimum distances. As long as you follow those protocols, regardless of where you are, that's what should've. The governor spoke a little bit about the situation with the RNC convention. He was saying that right now he's not on a timeline. President was saying, I want an answer within a week. What are your thoughts on? That whole situation is out. How is that being handled in Europe? Of course, that's a That's a decision with the White House and with Republican National, uh, committee. But I do understand completely why the while the president is asking to know that now the RNC would be investing, I believe around $30 million into infrastructure and improvements to the to the Coliseum there in Charlotte. And so they need to know that now, before they put all of that money and all that, I have the convention. Look, this is a 250 to $300 million economic impact to the state of North Carolina. There were a lot of cities in a lot of states that wanted this convention. North Carolina was chosen for a lot of reasons, and I think that we need to. I think the governor needs to go ahead and make it very clear that North Carolina will be open for that, of course, with appropriate safety protocols that you certainly don't hear me and you don't hear should hear you buy has any sense advocating just going caution to the wind and acting like this thing's not here. That would be irresponsible food. But there are protocols and safety measures that can be put in place, that we're practicing here and that we're we're encouraging other folks to have as well. And you can put those in place and you can conduct these events. So that's the key. And I think that we just need to have the guidance to be able to allow that happen. What's the absolute latest that you think that guidance could come down? Yeah, you'd have to call President Trump. I'm just a speaker of the house, Okay, you have that. That's that's adjusted at the national level, but I But I would imagine that they need to know sooner rather than later. And there were request is completely reasonable presents request to know that is absolutely reason. And if you look where we are and as a state, really North Carolina right now, in terms of the extent to which we have things shut down, we're out wire were much more restrictive and shut down than our neighboring states. I live about six miles from the South Carolina State wide, and if you look in South Carolina's numbers, they're not terribly different than North Carolinians. But they've been more open longer than North Carolina. But I want it. I want to continue working with the governor will be required that can you working with the executive branch to to see that common sense things were done. But I do think a couple things about this most recent executive order that were troublesome. One was the fact that you had a lot of business owners who were landed believed they were going to be able to be given some of the businesses, including this before she got athletic facilities as well that were led to believe there will be a bit operate well. They undertook to make a lot of changes, spend a lot of money and put in some protocols. For example, the gym's by the governor's. Give me the best excuse ever be able to say, I hadn't gone to the gym, right? I can't get right. That's that allows me to be less, but you look it was forest. There is far as the G M's and everything they went in. They spaced out equipped to put in extra queen. They did a lot of things so that folks could go in and exercise and do things. And they say, And then they find out at the press conference. No, you're not gonna get to do that. That's not way need. It needs to make some sense. It just you put in place the protocols because you have the businesses. But if you own a restaurant going fitness club, if you all on these facilities, the last thing that you won't is for your business to have been a place where something was spread, it's not gonna help. So these business owners have more skin in the game, frankly than government does to make sure that things were done safely, that they're able to operate in a cautious way. So I think we need to We need to go in that direction instead of the one size fits all type degrees. Was your read on the decision to replace Lockhart Taylor, the head of Yes, well, when can be unemployment were about trying to put more people. They're not take people way. We think we need as many hands on deck is we can have help get the work done, but that's an executive branch functions. Mr Taylor, think a lot of no Mr Gibson served within the house. Think a lot of him as well. I think at the end of the day, they got to be getting the resource is that they need from the government to be able to do to process these claims. And do they do this job? We are office, our office. I represent one county in the western part of the state. But my office has been handling hundreds hundreds of unemployment issues for folks all around the state. Tryingto Sheppard these things through and it's just sad. I mean, we get these calls from functions and I'm getting nothing. I've been out of work for two months. I call the Division of Employment Security. I can't get an answer. When I finally get an answer, I get I'm gonna hold for two hours. When somebody picks up, I get disconnected. I can't go online. And what we have folks who say when they try to go to their local the S office in their community, when they try to go in and just walk in number one, if they're allowed in there told they can't handle it there, they got a running through Raleigh, and you have those employees there. They're not handling this claims. I don't know what they're doing. But they spoke, sir, then redirected. Have to go through Raleigh. I mean, that doesn't make any sense. We need to make sure that all hands, wrong day to process these claims because I can tell you that these families, their mortgages, are still coming to you. Rents do they still gotta buy groceries, and they can't just write an IOU when they go to the go to the food wine and say, Well, the state's gonna send me a check They need that assistance Now, he said, the governor could do another executive order beyond the bars. I do not see that in the bill says, notwithstanding in declaration of emergency. So the way I like. There were several provisions under the emergency powers for the governor under Chapter 1 66 Given the nature of what the emergency is, if there's a new situation where needs to be hiding, there's a provision the last to do that, so he would have to show that there is some sort of new situation. Essentially, the question like Laura's question was what it But it got a spy. What? He had something changed right from what is it like that happens, he'll be able to do that. You have to go anywhere for that. No, no, he doesn't have to go to court. Hey, would simply just re issue the order, Have not reaching issue. And you order under that different provisions. And remember, remember this There's the There's the order that they got. There is the provision of Governor relied upon where he advises that he did not need the consent of the Council of State. Right. Well, there's also the provision that would actually allow him to even do more. But he simply needs to get the approval of the Council of State. And I would imagine you have a dire situation happening. Council state, with your other apps Statewide, elected officials are going are going to sign up for that. So that new situation we would have to get some cases. In some cases. I understand he he actually wouldn't have to. And you know this. That provision was drafted as a compromising. The debate on the floor turned into a much wider and broader Think what this waas I mean, this allows outdoor dining. It allows a lot of things that have been proven to be pretty safe that a lot of places were already doing. And it's simply taking what we're doing in for one section of a business and apply it to the that's it. So it's not, you know, we're not really clowning you ground. This is taking what's already happening for industry and finding industry. Expect any more bills looking for gems, for it's certainly being discussed. My hope is, is that the governor will will continue here from folks in the public, will get a sense of where this Legislature is and simply amend his executive order way. We're not We're not spoiling for a five with the governor were not way have really gone. We're really going on okay, I'm really going out of my way to be bipartisan as much as I can even pointed Democratic co chairs of committees, and I'm disappointed that we have a bill today that that broke not completely on partisan lines, but large parts of because this is something we all need to be concerned. We need to be concerned about the disease we need to be concerned about the economy, and we need to be concerned about these individuals, all the workers and business owners. I don't live in terms how the statue explains a new situation so that we know Wait lots still back, Nikki. The new situation or no nothing? No, it's gets It would be something like, for example, in Laura's question was what if all of a sudden you started staying a spike in infections? You saw a change to the status quo. Essentially any change to the status quo the governor would be able to reissue but would just be able to articulate why there was a change walks needed. That's it. I say. It's a very, very measured approach cause this says any declaration of emergency issued under article that we have Article one A. Then I think what? See, there's several provisions. Okay, Different. Okay, back in the budget issue. If you're able to get that federal dollar flexibility, do you think at this stage we can avoid budget cuts? And if we can't get that, are we looking at budget cuts later in the summer? You know, we're looking at everything right now, Colin, again, we've got we have a $24 billion budget. We now have it at this moment a $44.2 billion shortfall in revenue. But then we have those other things that we're gonna have to fund that. As for transportation, maybe 700 million that as for the Medicaid re base, 150 million, then you have your enrollment funding increase for K 12 community college and university. You have all of those things that add to it said you're really talking about $5 billion. You're talking some serious money here. When you start looking at when you start looking at when people talk about budget cuts, there's several things we look at. Number one we go. We have a lot of these little funds where money is set aside, right? I mean, like, millions of dollars here. And they So what? We first asked our our budget chairs. It was to go try to locate the places where you can get those funds relatively payments, basically money that's just sitting there on the sidelines, not being used and use those funds to bring those in and fund those things. So that's gonna get you part of the way then you have the $1.7 billion in the UN in procreative balance that's gonna get you part of the way. Then you draw down some not all, but you draw down some of the savings reserve and get you a little bit for all right. Then you get to a point where your steel and even if you throw in the federal money, you're still not quite there. So the easiest place to do it is what's called the lab south. Now, lap salaries is this is the easiest way to explain when state government budgets. Let's say you have a department and you have 50 positions in that in that department, and they get paid $40,000 a year when we budget as a state, we put the money aside as if all 50 of those positions are fully funded at $40,000 for all 12 months. Well, we all know it doesn't work that way. People retire, people quit, they move, they do other things. So what happens is that money that was being sent to those agencies to be spent for those positions remains in there. Sometimes inside the apartments would use that money for other things. If they want to buy a new copier, they want to buy a new car. I don't know what it is. They want to buy the things and they were specifically appropriated. One. The easy things that we can do to locate additional money is to go tap into those spots. Whether and so sometimes there's lap salaries can be as much as three and 4% of the agency's budget. Usually they're a little less. Not that they could be around that range. So you can go into a very agency and you can make those kinds of cuts using that because you're not really affecting anything. You're just you're saying the agency didn't spend it, but the purpose it was allocated, she gonna recapture that money used to spend somewhere else. So there's some things that I mean Work way. Haven't gotten down to the point college where we're actually pulling the cushions off the sofa is out here in the waiting room looking for change. That's probably next, except clarifying question on the bond. I feel like the number you gave out of that one point, so OK, so the total of the bond packages 3.33 point 11.5 is your transportation. 800 million Is your pay 12 600 billion? The university. 200 million for the community. And remember the treasurer earlier this week? He tells me that Dan Affordability shows about 3.16 So we're less than that. But, uh, we're gonna and again that's got to be approved by the voters of the vetters of previous way. Do that. Thank you. Good to see you guys appreciate you being here.