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NCGA Weekly Roundup: Apple campus, military bills, daylight savings and more

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This is part of a series that looks at bills the state legislature has introduced, the progress they have made in the chamber and what impact they might have on the state moving forward. Read last week's roundup here.

The leadership of the North Carolina General Assembly welcomed the arrival of Apple’s new campus in the Research Triangle on Monday. 

The announcement of the project capped off a week where bills about military veterans, daylight savings time and plenty more topics made their way through the legislative building. 

Apple hub brings jobs home

Apple announced a new North Carolina business venture — the construction of a new hub in the Research Triangle.

Apple said it plans to invest over $1 billion in North Carolina and that the project would create at least 3,000 new jobs. The company also said it would establish a $100 million fund to support schools and community initiatives in the greater Raleigh-Durham area and contribute over $110 million in infrastructure spending for the 80 counties in the state with the greatest need.

Legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper alike welcomed the investment, which they said showcases the importance of the state’s business-friendly climate, world-class universities and welcoming and diverse communities.  

“This announcement will benefit communities across our state and we are proud to work together to continue to grow our economy and bring transformational industries and good-paying jobs to North Carolina,” they said in a joint statement. 

Support for veterans 

The General Assembly has also moved forward with multiple bills to provide funding for programs that support military veterans across the state.

House Bill 370, called the "No Veteran Left Behind Act," provides state funds to establish and implement a pilot program to expand the Veterans Justice Intervention program. 

The pilot program would partner with nonprofits and government entities to assess each county’s initial response to veterans in crises. It would also help educate first responders and others on veteran-specific crisis intervention, suicide prevention and VA resources available to them.

The bill passed unanimously in the House, and has been heralded as an important step to support military veterans and local communities in general. 

“As a thirty-three year law enforcement veteran, this is a much-needed bill that will be a great benefit to local communities,” Rep. Charlie Miller (R-Brunswick) said in a statement. 

Another veteran-related bill, House Bill 138, was signed into law by the governor on April 21, after passing unanimously through both chambers of the legislature.

The bill designates April 24 as Wounded Heroes Day in North Carolina. It was enacted in honor of Army Sgt. Michael Verardo, who, after suffering severe injuries in Afghanistan, underwent 120 surgeries and is now an active member of his community. 

The governor applauded the bill’s passage and made clear that the state is committed to providing all the support possible to the veterans residing within it.  

“North Carolina is the most military-friendly state in the country and we must continue to work to make sure we support our veterans and wounded warriors,” Cooper said in a statement.

Also on the docket

Plenty of other bills made their way through the legislature this week:

  • House Bill 307, which would have North Carolina observe Daylight Savings Time year-round, passed overwhelmingly in the House on April 22. The bill also passed its first reading in the Senate, and now sits in its rules committee.
  • House Bill 211 would ease restrictions on the service of food and drink in restaurants and bars, notwithstanding limits imposed on them via executive order. Nearly 30 Republican lawmakers have signed on. 
  • Senate Bill 35 would amend the lawful marriage age to 18 years or older. 
  • Senate Bill 121 would appropriate funds to provide legislatively mandated salary increases of 7 percent for employees of local community colleges in the state. 

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Finally, on a less consequential note, the General Assembly is set to make the loggerhead sea turtle the official saltwater reptile of North Carolina.

House Bill 281, the measure that would make it official, passed unanimously in the House on April 22 and awaits further action in the Senate, having passed its first reading on April 26. 

@DTHCityState | 

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