Legislative Session, Week 13
Week 13 of the Legislative Session really picked up with more committees meeting and taking up multiple bills. No new bills will be filed as filing deadlines have passed. In total, 1,769 bills have been filed this session. Only a hand full have been presented to the Governor and signed into law. With crossover deadline May 16th, we will see many bills picking up the pace in the next few weeks. Once these bills have passed the House or Senate, they are eligible for the rest of this session and/or short session (May 2014) if needed. If a bill does not pass it’s respective chamber before May 16th, it will not be considered this legislative session.
Relevant bills with action:
- SB 137 Prohibit Co-pay Waiver/Medicaid Providers: This bill passed out of committee and passed the Senate floor this week. This bill was amended and only applies to pharmacies. Originally, this bill applied to ALL Medicaid providers. This bill was a Lobby Day issue and many of you spoke to your legislators in March about the harmful impact this bill would have on you. Due to these efforts, the bill was amended and no longer applies to LCSWs!
- SB 140 Financial Exploitation of Older Adults: This bill passed the Senate in the beginning of April and was assigned this week to House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee on Business and Labor. This bill increases recognition, reporting and prosecution of exploiting older adults financially or fraudulently. It also continues the task force on Fraud Against Older Adults.
- SB 144 Nonprofit Grants/Increase Accountability: This bill passed Senate Committee on Program Evaluation. It will be heard on the Senate floor next week. The bill increases accountability for non-state entities receiving state grants.
- SB 247 Freedom to Negotiate Health Care Rates: This bill passed out of Senate Committee on Insurance and will be heard on the floor next week. The bill allows providers and insurers to freely negotiate reimbursement rates without a contractual provision that restricts negotiations.
- SB 594 Require Drug Testing/Work First Benefits: This bill passed the Senate this week after much debate. It was assigned to House Judiciary Subcommittee C. NASW-NC is opposed to this bill. If the House passes the bill, and it is signed into law by the Governor, it will most likely be legally challenged. The bill requires applicants of Work First Benefits to pay for a drug test before applying. If an applicant passes the test, they would get reimbursed. If an applicant fails the test, they will have to go through substance abuse treatment and wait one year before applying again.
- HB 74 Kilah’s Law/Increase Child Abuse Penalties: This bill was signed by the Governor and is now law. It increases penalties for child abuse.
- HB 292 Establish Music Therapy Practice Act: This bill passed out of committee and was referred to House Finance. The bill establishes Music Therapy in the state and would set up a board to oversee the license. It does NOT prohibit anyone already licensed in the state from using music therapy in practice.
- HB 399 Amend Laws Pertaining to DHHS: This bill passed out of committee and will be heard on the House floor on Monday.
- HB 452 2013 School Safety Act: This bill was amended in committee this week. The first 3 sections were removed as they were all appropriations (money) related. This includes Section 2 which increased funding for school social workers. NASW-NC was made aware of the change prior to the meeting by the bill sponsor. This section will be included directly into the House budget. The bill passed on House floor and will be sent to the Senate.
- HB 543 MHDDSA Providers As Uncompensated Guardians: This bill passed the House floor and will be sent to the Senate.
- HB 589 VIVA (Voter ID): This bill passed out of committee. After 4 hours of debate, it was passed on the House floor. The bill is now in Rules and Operations of the Senate. It is unknown if the Senate will take up this bill or make their own, stricter version.
- HB 605 Establish Aging Subcommittee/HHS Oversight: This bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate. It establishes a 21 member aging subcommittee. Several sessions ago, a legislative aging committee was eliminated. Since then, no committees have been in place to directly deal with aging issues. NASW-NC is supportive of this bill.
- HB 635 Involuntary Commitment Custody Orders: This bill passed House Committee Jud. C and will be heard on the House Floor next week.
- HB 704 Study and Encourage Use of Telemedicine: This bill passed committee and was heard on the floor. It will now be sent to the Senate.