Before we jump into legislative action from this week, we would like to thank those who participated in Lobby Day! For the almost 500 social workers that were able to join us this past Wednesday, THANK YOU! Your participation and enthusiasm made for a great event! We heard a lot of positive feedback from participants AND legislators! Your meetings with your legislators and advocating for the profession made a huge difference- keep communicating with your legislators to build those relationships! Thank you for your contributions, your time and your passion for the profession! We could not have had a more successful lobby day without YOUR help!
Relevant bills filed
House Bill 398- Systematically Reform Medicaid: This bill requires HHS to conduct a systematic Medicaid reform. It was referred to House Health and Human Services Committee. A Senate version was also filed this week, Senate Bill 367. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Health Care.
Senate Bill 347- Study Unified Public Health System: This bill also requires HHS to study the concept of a unified public health system and the feasibility of establishing a unified public health system within the state. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Health Care.
Action taken on relevant bills this week
Senate Bill 45– Incapacity to Proceed: This bill passed the House and will be heard in the Senate next week.
House Bill 217- Criminal Law/Procedure Amendments: This bill was discussed in Judiciary B this week but for discussion only. It would transfer juvenile cases to superior court for Class B1 through Class E felonies. The discretion to move the case to superior court would be done by the prosecutor and not the judge.
Senate Bill 334- Dorthea Dix Lease: After a heated debate between attendees and legislators, this bill passed out of Senate committee Thursday. It will be headed to the floor soon.
On Wednesday, Governor McCrory released his budget. See some highlights and lowlights below. The Governor’s budget suggests spending $20.6 billion; about a 2% increase from last year’s budget. If you’re interested in more information, or knowing a section that was not covered, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are awaiting the Senate to file their budget and then the House. From there, legislators will negotiate all 3 proposed budgets to decide on one final spending package.
– The AIDS Drug Assistance program was reduced by $8M in Fiscal Year 2014-2015.
– $1M was allocated to tobacco prevention. $17.3M has been lost with the elimination of the Health and Wellness Trust Fund last year.
– NC Reach – The Governor proposes an increase of $1.1M in 2014 and $1.2M in 2015 to the NC Reach program, which assists young people aging out of foster care to get an education.
– County DSS agencies are set to receive less federal funds, so the state is providing a nonrecurring allocation of $4.8M in 2014-2015 to help offset costs.
– Mental Health Drug Management – This measure requires prior authorization for mental health drugs. This will save $5.4M in state funds in 2014 and $11.3M in state funds in 2015.
– Adjust Medicaid Copayments – Increase copayments from $3 to $3.90 for most services except for emergency services, family planning, pregnancy-related services or preventative services for children. $3.3M reduction in 2014 and $5M reduction in 2015.
– Medicaid / Health Choice Transfer – In accordance with the Affordable Care Act, the Health Choice program will transfer all children under 133% of FPL to the Medicaid program. $23M increase in 2014 and $48M increase in 2015.
– $10 million allocated for victims of the state’s decades-long eugenics program
-Cut to LME/MCO Administrative Funding – This item fully implements the MCO administrative model, which results in a recurring funding reduction of $15M.
– Center for Safer Schools – Governor McCrory announced this week The Center for Safer Schools; housed under the Department of Juvenile Justice. LEAs can utilize as they work to make their schools more secure. $311K recurring allocation. The Covenant, a Coalition NASW-NC actively participants in, put out a list of recommendations to the Governor prior to the announcement- including increasing school social workers. You can read more about this here.
Upcoming Advocacy Events
Did you have to miss NASW-NC’s Advocacy day this week? Consider joining other Lobby Days that NASW-NC is helping with!