Legislative Session, Week 21
While some legislators meet behind closed doors to negotiate the budget and tax reform, few committees met last week to pass other bills before session adjourns. Legislators still do not know when they will leave town but they hope to do so by the 4th of July holiday.
Relevant bills with action:
SB 613 Create Military Affairs Commission: This legislation creates a Military Affairs Commission in NC. The Commission will make recommendations to the Governor, state agencies and the legislature. Included in their recommendations will be to identify and support ways to promote quality of life for members, their families and retirees (specifically in the areas of workforce, housing and education). The bill passed out of committee and will be heard this week. This legislation will be great to help NC meet the needs of military families.
SB 663 Blue Ribbon Comm. Recs./Supportive MH Housing: This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a supportive housing program for individuals transitioning from institutional settings to integrated community-based settings. The bill also creates a Community Living Housing Fund within the Housing Finance Agency to integrate individuals living with disabilities into community-based supported housing. This bill is very positive and is moving in the right direction to bring NC in compliance with the Department of Justice Settlement. The bill passed the Senate and was referred to House Health and Human Services.
SB 712 ID Card for Homebound Persons: This bill directs the Department of Motor Vehicles to establish a way to issue ID cards for homebound citizens. The bill passed the House and will now likely go to the Governor.
HB 392 Share Arrest Warrant Status/Pub. Assistance: This bill would require DSS to verify if someone applying for public assistance is a fleeing felon or parole or probation violator. The bill, changed from it’s original version, allows local law enforcement to work with DSS without DSS workers violating Federal laws around affirmative duty. This means, local law enforcement will have the responsibility of seeking this information. More work is expected on this bill but legislators were very concerned about not putting DSS workers in jeopardy through this legislation. The bill passed committee and was sent to Senate Health Care.
HB 477 Allison’s Law/Use of GPS Tracking Device/DVPO: This legislation allows a court to consider granting a domestic violence protective order with the use of a GPS tracking device. The tracking device would alert authorities if the DV offender has gone into a restricted area (most likely a school zone or home). This bill also requires the NC Department of Public Safety, NC Sheriff’s Association and the NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence to report findings and impact to the legislature. The bill passed out of committee this week.
HB 831 Ed. Services for Children in PRTFs: This legislation requires standards for education while children are in private psychiatric residential treatment facilities. This bill will be a positive improvement in ensuring that children continue their education regardless of being in a PRTF. This bill passed out of Education and was referred to Appropriations.
Budget and Tax Reform
You may notice, if you are at the General Assembly or meeting with your legislator back in the districts, that House members are growing out their beards until the end of session. Representative Tillis announced last week that a continuing resolution will be passed in order for state government to run past the July 1st start to the fiscal year as a budget will not be approved by then. This resolution allows state government to run at it’s current funding levels. Legislators are working behind closed doors to negotiate a budget and tax reform. Representative Tillis did comment that he hopes to be ‘clean shaven’ by the July 4th holiday. A list of legislators working on the budget can be found here: http://ncleg.net/gascripts/confcomm/confcommittee.pl?BillChamber=S&BillID=402&session=2013. We expect to see a final budget by the end of this week or the first week of July.