Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.
By Kay Castillo, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation
Crossover: The deadline that has bills flying out of committees and rushed to the floor. Any bill that does not require state funding, had to pass the House or the Senate in order to remain alive for the remainder of the legislative session. The crossover deadline was Thursday, April 30th; just a few weeks after the bill filing deadline so many bills had not even been heard in a committee until this week! House members worked all day Tuesday, wrapping up around 11:00 pm. Additionally, Wednesday night, the House spent TEN hours debating around 70 bills with many amendments to them. They finished around 2:30 am and adjourned for the weekend. This week, we sent out two action alerts on bills that were quickly advancing. THANK YOU for taking action so quickly! Your voices truly made a difference. Here is an update on both bills:
House Bill 847 Parental Rights and Med. Treatment of Minors: When the action alert for this bill went out, it required minors to have a notarized consent form before receiving treatment for several things including mental health and substance use disorder. With your voices heard, this bill was significantly amended and our current minor consent laws remain in place. The bill allows for parents to not be charged with abuse or neglect when following treatment guidelines for various conditions. The bill will continue to be worked on in the Senate as it did pass the House in time for crossover.
House Bill 562 Second Amendment Affirmation Act: This bill was amended in committee this week to include that providers could not ask clients on a written questionnaire/health assessment if firearms are in the home. Further, it would include that a provider could not disclose any verbal information provided by the patient or a family member regarding firearms to officials of any kind. If a provider does not comply, a fine will be imposed. Because of your feedback to your legislators, the bill created too much controversy to take up quickly. Late on Wednesday, legislators added an appropriation to the bill to keep it alive beyond the crossover deadline. The bill will be heard on Wednesday, May 6th in the full Appropriations Committee. We are asking that this section be removed from the bill. Please let the chair of this committee know we want it removed and contact your legislator if he or she is on the committee. View the committee members here.
Bills with action this week:
SB 423 Foster Care Family Act: 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. The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday with ZERO opposition!
SB 676 Autism Health Insurance Coverage: This bill develops health insurance coverage for children up to age 18 on the autism spectrum. Coverage would allow for up to $40,000 in treatment of any kind a year and is in line with what is already offered by the State Health Plan. Licensed Clinical Social Workers are included as providers under the bill. The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday.
SB 652 Prohibit Re-homing of an Adopted Minor Child: This bill would prohibit an adopted minor child from being permanently transferred to another home- away from the adopted family- without a court order. This does not include immediate family such as grandparents, stepparents, etc. The bill passed the Senate.
SB 519 Amend Child Custody Laws: This bill would require the court to consider both parents in child custody proceedings. It does take into account domestic violence and other situations before deciding custody. The bill passed the Senate.
SB 343 Student Assault on a Teacher/Felony Offense: The bill applies to young people, aged 16 and older that do not have an IEP or Section 504 Plan who assault school employees or volunteers. The first offense would be a misdemeanor, the second offense would be a class H felony, and the third offense would be a class G felony. The bill passed the Senate though a fiscal note is in progress for the bill.
HB 712 Pilot Project/Use Needle Disposal: This bill would direct the SBI to create and implement a used needle and hypodermic syringe disposal pilot project. The project would allow for the free disposal of used needles to help prevent the spread of HIV, AIDS, and other blood borne diseases. The bill passed the House.
HB 817 Enact Uniform Law on Adult Guardianship: This bill addresses interstate jurisdictional issues related to guardianship. The bill creates priority when two or more states appoint guardians for the same person, develops procedures for transferring guardianships between states, and allows a guardian to register an order from other states. 40 other states have passed a similar law. A bill summary is provided here. The bill passed the House.
HB 816 Study the Needs of Working Caregivers: This bill directs the Legislative Research Commission to study the needs of working caregivers. The study will look into leave policies provided for caregivers, employer responses, government responses, employment opportunities, protections available to caregivers, and more. The bill passed the House.
Join us at the North Carolina General Assembly, 16 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC on Wednesday, May 6th from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm in the 1300 Quadrant to visit with organizations across the state working to impact the lives of children in foster care. Legislators are working hard to pass legislation that would help create normal lives for children in care and we want to showcase the work we’re doing. This event is a combined effort with Children’s Home Society, SAYSO, NASW-NC, and Independent Living Resources, Inc.
NASW-NC works on behalf of the social work profession on a variety of issues. It is a member benefit provided by NASW-NC to have a registered lobbyist advancing and supporting the profession of social work in North Carolina. The North Carolina Chapter works with National NASW on Federal issues such as reimbursement rates, immigration, student loans, and more. Your membership dues help support our advocacy efforts everyday on the state and federal levels. Thank YOU for being a member and staying engaged in supporting the social work profession.
We need you. If you are a social worker and not a member of your professional association we ask that you to join to support the advocacy efforts on behalf of your profession. Click here to join today!