Advocacy Update: Autism Insurance, Foster Care, Abortion Limits
Kay Castillo, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation
NASW-NC members and former youth in foster care meet with Jimmy Wayne.
With one week left until the crossover deadline (when a bill without an appropriation has to pass either chamber to continue for the session), many bills were flying through the House and the Senate. On Tuesday, NC Women United held Women’s Advocacy Day with over 100 women, men, and children in attendance. A press conference was held to discuss the Equal Rights Amendment, equality, voting rights, and economic self sufficiency. On Wednesday, the Joint Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services heard from country western singer, Jimmy Wayne. He is an NC native that aged out of the foster care system and spoke to the committee on the need for SB 423 Foster Care Family Act. Wednesday also brought controversy with HB 465 which triples the wait time for a woman to receive an abortion. The bill was heard in committee with weighted public comment (only one speaker spoke in opposition and seven spoke in favor before time ran out). The bill went to the floor the next day and passed on a partisan vote. This week will be just as crazy with bills popping up all over the place trying to make it through the chambers by Thursday’s deadline.
Women’s Advocacy Day
Bills with action:
HB 380 Statewide School Safety Management: This bill passed the House this week and was sent to the Senate. This bill would develop a school safety plan and provides grants for LEAs, regional schools, and charter schools to hire additional staff including school social workers.
HB 158 Jim Fulghum Teen Skin Cancer Prevention Act: This bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate. It prohibits teens from using tanning beds in an effort to curtail skin cancer.
SB 198 Persons Under 18 in Confinement Facilities: Prohibits youth under age 18 from being housed in local confinement facilities unless sound and site barriers are in place. The bill passed Judiciary II and was sent to Appropriations Committee.
SB 367 ABLE Act: Passed Health Care Committee and was sent to Finance. The bill would create tax-advantaged savings accounts for persons with disabilities. The law would allow creation of “ABLE accounts,” which resemble qualified tuition programs, often called “529 accounts,” that have been established under that section of the tax code since 1996. The maximum annual contribution to an account would be set at $14,000 with a principal cap of $100,000. Earnings and distribution on ABLE accounts would be tax-exempt.
HB 703 Cont. Task Force/Fraud Against Older Adults: Passed the House and was sent to the Senate. The bill would provide for the continuation on the task force that studies fraud committed against older adults.
HB 465 72 Hours Informed Consent By Person or Phone: This bill passed committee on Wednesday and the floor on Thursday. It will now go to the Senate. From it’s original form, provisions were removed that would have prevented ECU and UNC hospitals from training and performing abortion procedures.
HB 842 Medicaid Waiver Protections/Military Families: This bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate. It allows for military families to receive Medicaid upon returning to the state if they were previously enrolled.
SB 423 Foster Care Family Act: This bill passed several committees and will be heard on the Senate floor on Tuesday. It is expected to pass. The bill would create liability insurance for foster parents, remove barriers to children getting drivers licenses while in foster care and provide them with insurance, help children in care have a more normal life, and to study a Medicaid waiver for children with serious emotional disturbance.
SB 676 Autism Health Insurance Coverage: This bill passed committee and will be heard on the floor on Tuesday. It develops health insurance coverage for autism- in line with what is already offered by the State Health Plan.
Coming up this week:
Monday (today) in Health Committee (listen online in room 643 at 3:00)- Revise Certain Policies/Child Care Subsidy (H832) and Amend Laws Re: Medical Treatment for Minors (H847).
Judiciary I will hear Facilitate Successful Reentry (H570) at 3:30 on Monday (today).
Judiciary II will hear Student Assault on Teacher/Felony Offense (S343) and Healthy Pregnancies/Prisoners and Detainees (S610) on Tuesday.