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Neighbors on Call's Weekly Policy Update for 4/19/21


  • North Carolina will follow federal recommendations and pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after reports that six women, none of whom were from North Carolina, had severe reactions after vaccination. While the vast majority of people in the country who received the J&J vaccine have reported only minor, transitory reactions, the state will wait until the FDA and the CDC complete an investigation and provide further guidelines about this single-shot vaccine. Experts at UNC Health and Duke Health told reporters that the pause in administering the J&J vaccine is proof that the system for monitoring of possible COVID-19 vaccine side effects is working.

Fair Representation and Voting Rights

  • NC House Democrats introduced the Fix our Democracy Act (HB 542), which includes provisions to facilitate voter registration and access to voting, creation of a NC Citizens Redistricting Commission, and reforms aimed at ensuring fair and impartial courts and government accountability and transparency. NC Senate Democrats introduced a companion bill (SB 716).

Education Policy

Economic and Housing Policy

  • The NC House gave near unanimous preliminary approval to HB 334, which gives tax breaks to businesses that received federal Paycheck Protection Program loans. Businesses that received PPP loans to help pay expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic would be able to deduct these expenses from their state taxes. The bill does not address whether individuals who received unemployment benefits during the pandemic will have to pay state taxes on these benefits. The federal government is waiving federal taxes on these benefits.

Health Care Policy

Women’s Rights

Criminal Justice

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