NASW-NC Social Work Blog

Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.

2014 Short Session, Week 1

By Kay Castillo, NASW-NC Director of Advocacy, Policy and Legislation

Legislators are back in session! Legislators were off to a quick start on Wednesday, May 14th, the first day of the short session. Included in the first day was an attempt to make changes to the Affordable Care Act in NC by delaying any mandates on insurance companies by two years. This would have made the Autism Reimbursement Bill from long session void. In a third attempt to meet, the committee did not have a quorum to vote the bill out and thus the autism bill was saved.

The Governor’s budget was also released last week. We have a proposed shortfall of $445Million and a $70Million Medicaid shortfall. This means legislators are looking to make cuts to close this shortfall.
Below are highlights from the Governor’s budget:

– A raise for all state employees.
– $123 Million less for the Department of Health and Human Services
– UNC System cut by about $50 Million
– $3 Million allocated for 30 positions created in DSS to enhance oversight of County Operations in Child Welfare (pg 87)
– $5 Million increase in Foster Care Assistance Payments to support the 9% increase in children in foster care from March 2013 to March    2014 (pg 88)
– Allots $1M for Medicaid Reform (pg 90)
– Prior Authorization for Mental Health Medication for Medicaid recipients starting Jan. 2015 (pg 91). Take action on this issue!
– Reinstates pay for Master’s degrees in public education if courses for degree began before July 1, 2013 (pg 34)

What’s next in the budget process? The Senate will propose a budget and we expect that to come out in 2-3 weeks. Following the Senate, the House will put out a budget. Appropriation chairs will then combine the three budgets and hopefully have one in place by the state’s July 1st budget deadline.

Introduced Bills Relevant to Social Work:

  • HB 1037/SB 749 Strengthen Controlled Substances Monitoring: This bill establishes Statewide Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, improves the state’s Controlled Substances Reporting System, and establishes a Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Committee.
  • HB 1047/ SB 761 Credit for Military Training: This bill would allow for military members, veterans, and military spouses to apply for an occupational license and practice lawfully in the state if they have moved from a state and held the same license in their previous state.
  • HB 1083/SB 730 Expand Medicaid to Include All Below 133% FPL: This bill would expand Medicaid in our state to those under age 65 who live 133% below the Federal Poverty Level.
  • HB 1104 Study Oversight/Conflicts of Int./Foster Care: This bill is recommended by the Omibus Foster Care committee and creates a subcommittee to study and address conflicts of interest with DSS staff serving as foster parents, oversight and delivery of services, and more.

What to look forward to this week?

  • Moral Monday protests return tonight, May 19th!
  • Raise the Age (Raise the Age Fact Sheet), HB 725 is scheduled to be voted on the House floor on Tuesday! Contact your Representative and let them know you SUPPORT HB 725! Take action on this issue.
  • Join us along with Children’s Home Society, Independent Living Resources, and SAYSO on Tuesday, May 20th from 1-4 in the 1200 quadrant of the legislative building as we celebrate National Foster Care Month. Plan to visit with exhibitors who work in foster care in NC and talk to your legislators about foster care! Contact Kay Castillo, advocacy@naswnc.org for more information!

 

 

These legislative updates are provided by the National Association of Social Workers. North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC). NASW membership support advocacy efforts on behalf of social workers and their clients at the state and national level. Become a member of your professional association today by joining online at www.socialworkers.org.

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This entry was posted on May 19, 2014 by in Advocacy and tagged , , , , , , , .

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