CONSISTENTLY DELIVERS

Sep 11, 2015

North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review

Remembering 9/11

On Wednesday, Military Advisor Cornell Wilson presented a proclamation on Governor McCrory’s behalf at a ceremony at the State Capitol. The proclamation declared September 12, 2015 as Tunnel to Towers Day in NC. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created by firefighter Stephen Siller’s siblings. Siller passed away at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The Foundation “promot[es] awareness about 9/11 heroes, such as Stephen Siller, to pay tribute to the everyday heroes, firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMS personnel, and active duty military service members who inspire us while protecting and serving in our communities and beyond.”

Governor McCrory issued the following statement,

“September 11, 2001 was a poignant reminder that there are heroes all around us in our first responders and military . . . We must continue to do all we can to honor those lost on 9/11, as well as protect those that protect us. I’m honored to recognize all organizations dedicated to caring for our first responders.”

Read the Governor’s Press Release here. Read the proclamation here.

“Close” – word of the week

With the continuing resolution (CR) set to expire in one week, House and Senate leadership are “close” to a budget deal. They expect to have a full deal by the end of the day. After meeting through the Labor Day holiday, conference committee members have agreed to a deal on Medicaid reform, funding for drivers education, and film grant funding.

Medicaid reform was removed from the budget bill, HB 97, and will proceed as a separate bill, HB 372, Medicaid Transformation/HIE/PrimaryCare/Funds. House and Senate leadership have agreed to move away from the state’s current fee-for-service system to a full-risk capitated system and to a hybrid system that will include both provider-led entities (PLEs) and managed care organizations (MCOs).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown (R-Onslow) reported this week that driver education will be funded in Year 1 of the 2015-17 budget, however new oversight will be added to the program.

The House and Senate have agreed to fund the newly created NC Film Grant Program at $30 million annually over the next two years. The program was previously funded at $10 million.

Even once a final agreement is reached, General Assembly staff will need some time to finish drafting the bill. A public release of the budget is not anticipated until early next week. House Rule 44(d) prohibits a vote on the budget conference report until the third legislative day following the report. A vote on the budget is anticipated for no sooner than Wednesday or Thursday of next week, just in time to beat the expiration of the CR at midnight on Friday, September 18.

Read the new CR here. Read HB 97 here.

The week’s recap in tweets

Monday

NC Rules Chairman, David R Lewis (@RepDavidRLewis) tweeted out a picture during budget negotiation meetings on Labor Day:
@MollieRYoung @RepPaulTine and this is my view #ncpol http://t.co/OhEBo5L1P5

Tuesday

NC Speaker Tim Moore (@NCHouseSpeaker) tweeted:
UPDATE: We hope to have a Conference Report by end of this week. #ncga #ncpol #ncbudget

Wednesday

NC Speaker Tim Moore (@NCHouseSpeaker) tweeted:
@SenatorBerger and I met until about midnight last night. Meeting again today. Progress made, flagged items down to a handful. #ncga #ncpol

Thursday

NC Speaker Tim Moore (@NCHouseSpeaker) tweeted:
Stay tuned, we're close. Negotiations will continue into tomorrow morning. #ncga #ncpol #ncbudget

Shifting control

Thursday, the conference report for HB 334, Charter School & Other Education Law Changes, was reported into the House. The conference report establishes the NC Office of Charter Schools. The newly formed Office of Charter Schools will report to the NC State Board of Education (SBE), shifting control of charter schools away from the NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI). The bill also removes the requirement that the head of the charter office be a member of DPI’s staff, instead the Office’s executive director would be appointed by the SBE.

The House plans to vote on the conference report Monday, while the Senate will vote on the report Tuesday.

Read the conference report to HB 334 here.

Governor signs Unemployment Insurance Law Changes bill

On Thursday, the Governor signed SB 15, Unemployment Insurance Law Changes. The Governor said the bill is a “game changer,” further stating “[g]etting a job is a job, and you should treat it as a job.”

The bill increases beneficiaries’ requirement to make two job contacts per week to five job contacts per week, requires the individual seeking benefits to present photo identification to the Division, limits the number of weeks an individual may receive benefits, changes the weekly benefit amounts, and changes charges to the employer’s account to quarterly.

Read SB 15 here. Watch a video the Governor posted on his YouTube page here.


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