by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This week, Brent Van Vliet of the Daily Tar Heel wrote an article about the government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Specifically, the article mentions the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” Van Vliet explains:
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act focuses on providing paid sick leave and free testing for the virus. The law allows for full-time employees to take up to two weeks of emergency paid sick leave, although some small businesses can opt out of the sick leave. Companies with more than 500 employees are not subject to this provision of the law.
It also expands unemployment benefits, Medicaid coverage temporarily and family and medical leave.
The law passed in the Senate in a 90-8 vote on Wednesday.
Van Vliet quotes JLF’s Mitch Kokai:
Mitch Kokai, senior political analyst at the conservative-leaning John Locke Foundation, said he thought the measures taken thus far were appropriate and said he was concerned about the potential for government overreach in the proposal of more programs in a new package being negotiated by lawmakers.
“Anytime there’s a crisis, something like that is going to happen on Capitol Hill, people say ‘aha, this is my opportunity to try to get more money for my project,’” Kokai said.
Kokai stated that there is an opportunity here to make positive changes that have a lasting benefit for North Carolinians:
While Kokai said he preferred to see programs that are temporary and targeted when it comes to dealing with the pandemic, he believes some measures being taken should become permanent.
“Now one very positive thing that has happened so far is the relaxation of government rules and regulations that really don’t have much of a reason to exist anyway,” Kokai said. “Like North Carolina rules link to the certificate of need that blocks health care providers from adding beds to their facilities or opening new facilities or purchasing major pieces of medical equipment, unless they get permission from the government.”