State legislative attention continues to focus on COVID-19 related issues. Special committees formed by House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) have been meeting via videoconferencing, with first drafts of proposals emerging: Draft bill released on April 22 by the House’s COVID-19 Healthcare Committee would temporarily expand Medicaid to help with virus-related care and allocate funding for other healthcare needs. The bill would appropriate $669 million for this purpose. Also released was a draft bill that sets out policy and makes changes to existing healthcare laws in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state Senate chose not to meet formally as the House has, but have been discussing COVID-19 issues in conference calls among all senators. The session of the NC General Assembly scheduled to commence on April 28, last only a few days, and will focus just on proposal to address economic and public health matters associated with the pandemic. The legislature is looking to return to Raleigh in July or August for the short session as is usually held in the second year of the state’s biennial budget cycle. Governor Cooper announced on April 23 that the ‘stay at home’ Executive Order he’d issued previously (that closed all but essential businesses) will extend until May 8. Cooper also indicated that based on progress made relative to COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates, restrictions would be lifted in phases (click HERE to see the press release from the Governor’s Office outlining the conditions that must be met to enter each phase).