Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.
Monday, June 22, 2015
By Kay Castillo, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation
It was a long week at the NC General Assembly! Senate members released their spending plan late in the afternoon on Monday and wrapped Medicaid Reform into the mix. The Senate budget spends significantly less than the House and the Governor’s spending plan proposals- as much as $700 million less and is full of policy changes. Additionally, their proposal for Medicaid Reform is very different regarding the set up and bid for serving North Carolina’s Medicaid and NC Health Choice populations. The Senate voted on House Bill 97 2015 Appropriations Act on Wednesday and Thursday, sending it back to the House. The House and the Senate will now appoint a conferee committee to work on a final plan. With so many changes both in spending, policy development, and Medicaid Reform, it is unlikely a budget will be in place July 1st; the start of the State’s fiscal year. A continuing budget resolution will be signed to keep state government operating. As a reminder, last year’s budget was not signed into law until August 7th. We could be looking at a long summer full of negotiations.
What Social Workers need to know about the Senate budget:
Health and Human Services
Justice and Public Safety
Relevant Bills with action
House Bill 562 Amend Firearm Laws: One of the more controversial bills of the legislative session, the House debated on this bill for over four hours on Tuesday and six hours on Wednesday. Representative Pendleton ran an amendment to remove the provider section that sought to prohibit providers from asking clients about access to firearms. Originally, the bill would have fined a provider from asking but this was later watered down before it was finally removed from the bill completely. The removal of this section supports the work social workers do with clients without being burdened. The bill still allows for a concealed carry permit holder to remove a firearm from their vehicle on school property if they feel they are in imminent danger and can have an impact on people bringing firearms into schools. Additionally, a section that would have allowed legislators and staff members from carry concealed weapons at the legislative building was also removed. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 372 2015 Medicaid Modernization: The House’s plan for Medicaid Reform includes Provider Led Entities covering services in all 100 counties. Each Entity must cover at least 30,000 patients and ensure appropriate services. Behavioral health services, dentistry, care for dual eligible patients, and pharmacy services are all excluded from the plan. Under the plan, 90% of Medicaid recipients would be served within five years. The plan passed House Appropriations and will be heard on the floor this week.
House Bill 836 Election Modifications: This bill makes changes to election laws. However, as a surprise to many members, a measure that allows voters without an ID to cast an affidavit at the polls showed up in the bill without going through the committee process. The change is in response to groups saying that there are significant delays at the DMV offering free ID cards following 2013 legislation requiring IDs to vote. In order to do this, voters would be say they could not obtain photo ID because of eight broad reasons, including work schedule, lost or stolen ID, lack of transportation, or family responsibilities. The voter would then have to present alternative forms of ID, such as a utility bill, voter ID card, or the last four digits of their Social Security number and birth date. The bill now goes to the Governor for signature.
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.
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