Monday, October 5, 2015 By Kay Castillo, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation
After 135 active legislative days and 27 previous NASW-NC Advocacy Updates, the 2015 Legislative Session adjourned around 4:15 am on Wednesday, September 30th; almost thirteen weeks behind schedule. In their adjournment resolution, legislators decided to return for the 2016 Short Session on April 25, 2016.
One bill that was passed last week that positively impacts the social work profession and our clients, Senate Bill 676 Autism Health Insurance Coverage. This bill. which should become law soon, 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. Because of NASW-NC advocacy efforts, Licensed Clinical Social Workers are included as providers under the bill so long as they practice within their experience, training, and scope of practice.
Relevant Bills With Action:
HB 297 End Marketing/Sale Unborn Children Body Parts: This legislation prohibits the sale of fetal tissue or any other part of an aborted fetus. This idea stems from videos released earlier this summer where executives from Planned Parenthood discussed the sale of tissue. Planned Parenthood in North Carolina commented that this is something they already prohibit in the state and is not a current practice here. Additionally, the bill prohibits state funding to any organization wishing to provide family planning services, pregnancy prevention activities, or adolescent parenting programs that also provide abortions. The bill passed the House and was sent to the Governor to sign into law. NASW-NC Opposes
HB 318 Protect North Carolina Workers Act: This bill includes a provision that would prohibit the use of a waiver in North Carolina that allows for SNAP benefits for childless adults who are not working or in training for fewer than 20 hours per week- a very harmful measure that could potentially impact up to 105,000 adults. The bill also bans counties and municipalities from having “sanctuary city” policies that limit enforcement of immigration laws that vary from county to county. The bill passed and was sent to the Governor to sign into law. NASW-NC Opposes
SB 297 Amend Qualifications/Practice of Counseling: This bill changes a few things regarding the Licensed Professional Counseling license such as supervision and school accreditation but it was later amended to include language on teaching sex trafficking prevention and awareness to students. Lastly, the bill expands the list of who can teach sex education and now includes behavioral counseling. It created a lot of controversy when legislators tried to limit local government authority who might adopt or have already adopted measures to protect GLBT citizens from discrimination, housing rules, and more. This was pulled out of the bill at the last hour. The bill was sent to the Governor to sign into law.
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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