Legislative Session, Week 19
Last week was a busy week as Representatives tried to hammer out their tax reform plan and release their budget. House Appropriations will meet on Tuesday morning and the budget will then go to the House floor. Members are expected to pass the budget by the end of this week. Following this process, House and Senate Appropriation chairs will then combine all budgets to create one state budget. They have until the end of the fiscal year, June 30th to pass a budget.
Relevant bills with action
SB 208 Effective Operation of the 1915 (B)/(C) Waiver: This legislation gives the Secretary more control in overseeing LME/MCOs in the state. The bill calls for several best practice standards including timely payment of providers. The bill passed the House and was sent back to the Senate. The Senate concurred with House changes and the bill was presented to the Governor for signature.
SB 306 Capital Punishment/Amendments: This legislation does several things including repealing the Racial Justice Act, starting executions on death row, and would protect professionals who administer the death penalty from any action from their licensing board for participating in the execution. The bill passed the House and will be sent back to the Senate for concurrence.
SB 334 Dorothea Dix Lease: Legislators have put together a conference committee to nail out the proposed changes with the new version of the bill that would allow the city of Raleigh more time to decide on selling or leasing the land as well as other changes.
SB 542 Drug Testing for LTC Applicants & Employees: This bill allows for drug testing of Long Term Care facility applicants and employees. It passed the House and was sent back to the Senate for concurrence.
HB 543 Guardianship Roles of MHDDSA Providers: This legislation addresses permissible guardianship roles for corporations and individuals that provide MH/DD/SA services. The bill passed out of Senate Health Care and was referred to Senate Judiciary I.
HB 687 Homeless Shelters/Remove Age Limits: This legislation would allow persons under age 18 in temporary overflow emergency homeless shelters. The bill passed the Senate and was sent to the Governor.
HB 998 Tax Simplification and Reduction Act: This is the House’s proposal for tax reform. The final vote on this bill will be tonight on the House floor. It will then go to the Senate. The NC Justice Center has put together key concerns on the House version of tax reform. There is no word on which tax bill will actually be passed this session.
House Budget Proposal
The House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittees met all day Friday to discussion Special Provisions. The full budget was not released until Sunday night. Over all, the House budget is much friendlier to most of our issues but still has a few issues to work out. Both the budget and committee reports are online.
SB 402 Appropriations Budget (House changes)
SB 402 Committee Reports (House changes)
- Increases school social work positions through grant opportunities (page 74).
- Eliminates the Child Fatality Task Force (page 118). An amendment was made Friday to extend the date of elimination and study the need for the task force.
- Includes funding for the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers and the Wright School (Senate eliminated these programs).
- Does NOT move pregnant women from Medicaid to the state run health exchange during pregnancy (Senate proposal does do this).
- Provides $8 million for Adult Care Homes. The Senate did not provide any money (page 101).
- Provides funding to compensate Eugenics victims (page 28).
- Phasing out of teacher and instructional support staff salaries on the ‘M’ level. This provision is only for positions that do not require a masters degree for licensure and applies to staff hired after the 2014-2015 school year. The Senate budget was much worse and included this for everyone except nurses (page 56).
- Includes funding for A Child for Every Family and creates a Permanency Innovation Initiative Oversight Committee (page 120).
- Establishes a statewide telepsychiatry program (page 128).
- Requires electronic transactions for providers (page 140).
- Requires prior authorization for more than 4 name brand drugs. The Senate budget would require prior authorization for ALL mental health medications (page 144).