NASW-NC Social Work Blog

Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.

Legislative Session, Week 22

Legislators are still working to get bills passed with the extra time given since a budget has not been put in place. Below are some bills of interest to social workers.

SB 132 Health Curriculum/Preterm Birth: This legislation requires health education to include that preventable risks of preterm birth include abortions, smoking, consumption of alcohol and illicit drug use in the school health education program. The legislation was amended in the House to include making this information available to home school, private and charter schools. The bill passed the House and will be sent to the Senate for concurrence.
SB 321 Contain Counties’ Inmate Medical Costs: This legislation attempts to reign in the cost of medical care of inmates at the county level. The legislation allows for inmates in jails to use Medicaid where eligible as well and puts several other measures in place to help cover costs of care. The bill passed out of the House Committee on Rules and was heard on the floor but referred back to a committee during debate.
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 the Senate floor and will be sent to the Governor.
SB 683 Safe Harbor/Victims of Human Trafficking: This bill is a huge victory for NC. Senator Kinnaird has been a champion for trying to get the state to address our human trafficking problem for years and other legislators have joined her in this push. This legislation is a bipartisan effort and creates a safe harbor for trafficking victims. It also updates our prostitution laws (that have not been updated since the late 1800s) and provides steeper penalties for persons forcing others into trafficking. The bill passed House Committee Judiciary B and passed the House floor. It should go to the Senate where it will be expected to pass as Senators and Representatives worked on this bill together.
HB 269 Children w/Disabilities Scholarship Grants: This legislation provides scholarship grants for children with disabilities to go to private school.  Grants are offered up to $3,000 and can be used at any private school. The bill was referred to Finance after passing the House Education committee last week.
HB 292 Establish Music Therapy Act: This legislation was introduced earlier in session to establish a Music Therapy licensing board in NC. It was amended and turned into a study bill. The bill passed out of committee and should go to the floor.
HB 392 Share Arrest Warrant Status/Pub. Assistance: This legislation allows local law enforcement to work with DSS without DSS workers violating Federal laws around affirmative duty. DSS workers will be allowed to share with local police when a parole or probation violator or a person with an arrest warrant issued applies for public assistance. Local law enforcement will have the responsibility of seeking this information. A new change was added to this bill to include that if a conviction is related to illegal controlled substances, this shall constitute as reasonable suspicion and the applicant should undergo drug testing as well. This section would allow the state to bypass a Constitutional protection for unreasonable drug testing. The bill passed out of committee but was not sent to the floor.
HB 399 Amend Laws Pertaining to DHHS: This legislation makes several changes to DHHS at their request. Changes are made to juvenile placement in custody, Medicaid estate rights and public health laws. The bill passed out  of committee and should go to the floor.
HB 510 Foster Care Children’s Bill of Rights: This legislation outlines 11 rights of children in foster care. It passed out of committee but is being held in the Senate Clerk’s office.

Budget Update

HB 336 Continuing Budget Authority: This bill was filed to keep state government running despite not having a budget in place by July 1. State budget will continue to run at 95% of it’s current funding level for thirty days. A Medicaid shortfall was also addressed and adjustments were made to fill this until the budget is passed. The bill was signed into law.

Legislators should be working on the budget between now and the end of July. We expect to see the budget after the July 4th holiday. Budget negotiations are wrapped up in the tax reform plan.

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2013 by in Advocacy and tagged , , , , , , , .

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