Carolina Journal Radio

Carolina Journal Radio No. 804: Lawmakers approve first round of hurricane relief

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N.C. legislators returned to Raleigh for the first of what they expect to be multiple sessions linked to Hurricane Florence disaster relief. In addition to a $56.5 million disaster relief fund, lawmakers unanimously supported legislation targeting schools, state matches for federal disaster funding, even mosquitoes. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, assesses lawmakers’ initial responses to the hurricane. North Carolina’s Robert Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, recently took part in a U.S. Justice Department forum addressing free speech on college campuses. Shibley discussed recent improvements in campus speech codes. He also identified ongoing challenges, including problems linked to outside speakers invited for campus lectures. As lawmakers returned to Raleigh to address hurricane relief, some of them were still dealing with issues linked to hurricane damage in their home communities. Sen. Michael Lee, R-New Hanover, offered inland colleagues insight about the storm’s impact on his community and neighbors. Before he leaves office at the end of the year, Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, is trying to draw attention to the danger of Lyme disease. During a recent hearing, Jones and Lyme disease patient Nia Davenport described some of the problems associated with the tick-related illness, which few people have associated with North Carolina. Some public school students missed weeks of classroom instruction because of Hurricane Florence. State lawmakers have granted local school systems flexibility in making up that lost time. But that still leaves school systems with challenges in trying to educate thousands of students. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research and director of education studies, evaluates those challenges.