The North Carolina General Assembly has an important role to play in developing a robust and sustained response to the public health and economic crisis brought on by COVID-19.

We believe it is critical for lawmakers to find agreement on how best to meet community needs now and to also set forward a long-term vision that will advance people’s well-being in the recovery from this public health and economic crisis.

This legislative agenda lays out the principles and policies that must guide our state’s first response to this pandemic while also identifying where underlying systemic changes are needed to ensure a recovery is both equitable and leads to resilience. We recognize that needs are changing, and the policy context is developing rapidly as well. There is no doubt that the federal government has a critical role to play as the state and country recovers from this unprecedented crisis. This agenda will also need to adapt to changing needs and circumstances as time goes on.

As North Carolinians across the state struggle with health scares, job loss, school closures, and great uncertainty, our policymakers’ leadership can show they are working for everyone’s well-being. They can also recognize their unique responsibility to build supports so that every person — white, Black, and brown — can achieve financial security and fully participate in civic life, strengthening our state for generations to come.

The North Carolina Justice Center’s shared principles and values for our state’s COVID-19 response:

  • First, legislators must center people most harmed by the virus and its ripple effects in the policies and public investments proposed by the state;
  • Second, legislators should conduct assessments of how their policy choices will impact people and address proactively the disproportionate harm of COVID-19, particularly on communities of color, and in so doing design solutions to achieve equitable outcomes; and
  • Finally, legislators should advance solutions that build durable, efficient systems to achieve greater resiliency in the future.