Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.
By Kay Castillo, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation
Last week at the General Assembly saw more action from the Senate than the House. Senators have been meeting in Rules Committee the past few weeks to pass a few pressing bills. On Thursday, while discussing Medicaid Reform on the Senate floor, Senator Bryant sought an amendment to expand Medicaid. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the amendment failed. Senators commented that this was the fourth time they voted down to expand Medicaid in the state. The House did meet on Thursday and Friday last week but had little committee activity during the week. Despite filing an adjournment resolution for Friday, July 25th, the House does plan to meet this week. Rumors started over the weekend that legislators have reached another deal on the budget so we hope to see the proposal this week.
HB 1181 Medicaid Modernization: This is the bill that would create a new department to oversee the operation of Medicaid and NC Health Choice run by a seven member board, create capitation by 2018, integrate physical and behavioral health by 2016, and more. The bill went to committee to push back a few dates in the bill including the creation of the new department from August 1, 2014 to September 1, 2014. Senators will take a third, and final, vote on Monday night. The bill then has to get approval from the House before it is made law. No word yet on the House’s position on the bill.
HB 369 Criminal Law Changes: This bill passed out of the Senate last week and is scheduled to be heard on the House floor on Tuesday. The bill will allow NASW-NC and other partners to work with the Human Trafficking Commission on age appropriate sexual abuse education for students and teachers. The bill also makes several changes to various criminal laws such as expungement for certain offenses and providing inmates with cell phones.
HB 1133 Technical and Other Corrections: A bill that normally marks the end of the legislative session, the House and Senate had been working on a technical corrections bill to tie up loose ends of the session. Usually very technical in nature (spelling errors, corrections to previous bills, etc), the bill had a surprise section that would eliminate the Child Fatality Task Force that makes statewide recommendations on behalf of the welfare of children. During floor debate, Representative Grier Martin (D-Wake), ran an amendment to eliminate this section of the bill and it passed overwhelmingly. The bill passed out of committee and passed the floor Friday. The bill will now go to the Senate where we will continue to watch any amendments to the bill.
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 http://www.socialworkers.org.