RURAL Act Signed into Law with Full NC Support

North Carolina’s congressional delegates demonstrated unprecedented unity — and a strong commitment to protecting rural communities and electric co-op members — in their recent unanimous support of the RURAL Act.

“We thank each of our members of Congress for standing up for rural North Carolina as co-sponsors of the RURAL Act,” said Jay Rouse, director of government affairs for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “It speaks to the merit of the measure that all of our congressional delegates from both sides of the aisle took action to support rural people and communities.”

The RURAL Act protects electric co-ops’ ability to accept grant funding to support members and local communities without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status. North Carolina’s 13 U.S. House representatives and both U.S. senators joined others from across the country to ensure the bipartisan success of the Act, which eventually became part of a larger bill signed into law in December.

“Supporting the RURAL Act was a simple decision for me,” said Rep. Greg Murphy of N.C.’s third congressional district. “As a member of Congress whose eastern NC district is served largely by eight member-owned electric cooperatives, I was proud to sponsor legislation that would preserve access to federal disaster recovery and economic development funds. The RURAL Act is good for co-op members and communities across North Carolina.”

Beyond providing electricity, electric co-ops are committed to helping members and communities thrive through economic development, innovative energy services and community and education support. Electric cooperatives often work to secure government grants to fund initiatives that benefit local people, businesses and communities, including storm recovery, broadband deployment, renewable energy and economic development.

In order to maintain their tax-exempt status, electric cooperatives can receive no more than 15 percent of their income from non-member sources. The RURAL Act corrects unintended consequences of the 2017 federal tax law to ensure that grants are not counted toward that 15 percent.