The North Carolina General Assembly will convene as scheduled for its short session beginning Tuesday, but it will still be a long way from "business as usual" for the state's lawmakers.
Access to the short session will be stringently restricted in order to protect legislators and their support staff from the possibility of contracting COVID-19. A number of state officials, including Treasurer Dale Folwell, have already had bouts with the Coronavirus and mitigation practices are in place and ongoing to prevent further infections.
On Wednesday, Senate leadership announced that the General Assembly legislative building will remain closed through May 8. Only members, credentialed media, and support staff needed for the legislature to function will be allowed into the facility. All persons entering the building will have their temperature checked upon entry.
The leadership in the House has also announced changes from the regular protocols. For the short session, members will be allowed additional time to cast floor vote so that social distancing guidelines can be observed.
The session is expected to last only a few days and it will primarily concern itself with considering important relief measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus are already taking advantage of technology by engaging in virtual meetings all this week to discuss proposed relief bills in the hopes of getting them through committee and before the General Assembly during the short session.
Following this brief session, the General Assembly will stand down and return during the summer, hopefully after the worst of the crisis has passed in order to consider further COVID-19 relief measures as needed along with budget and substantive issues normally covered in the short session.