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Allen Purser

President/CEO

Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce

252-519-2611

f 252-535-5767

P.O. Box 519

Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870

www.rvchamber.com

 

Check out the Calendar of Events on www.rvchamber.com.


From: Karon Hardy (Rep. Bryant) [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2011 3:06 PM
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Newsletter from the Office of Representative Angela R. Bryant

 

 

 

 

NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

Representative Angela R. Bryant

House of Representatives

 

Proudly Representing Halifax and Nash Counties

District 7

 

 

 

 

Volume IV, Issue 14

                                                           July 28, 2011

 

 

NEWS FROM RALEIGH

 

I always welcome your comments, project updates, suggestions, and visits. My office door and electronic door is always open to you!  As always, thank you for your support! 

 

LEGISLATIVE RECAP

 

I returned to Raleigh this week for a special session of the General Assembly to consider redistricting bills and votes on bills vetoed by Gov. Perdue. Much of the legislation introduced by the majority was highly partisan and as a result the session was unfortunately very contentious. I remain hopeful we will continue to try to find ways to work together instead of continuing to find ways to divide our state.

 

The majority has scheduled yet another session to start Sept. 12, the third session of the year. Typically, the General Assembly meets for a single session each year.

 

Redistricting

 

Democrats in the North Carolina House of Representatives and the NC Legislative Black Caucus offered redistricting proposals this week that produce more compact and competitive districts while splitting fewer communities. The plans also more fully respects the requirement in the state Constitution that counties be kept whole whenever possible. The plans were offered as amendments to the majority’s plan but were defeated.

 

The plans introduced by Democrats and the Black Caucus for House, Senate and by Democrats for the Congressional districts are superior to the Republican plans by most measures and avoid the tortured racial gerrymandering of the majority’s plan. The plans also incorporates the input of the citizens of our state, who turned out in public hearings to overwhelmingly oppose the majority’s proposals. The last of those hearings was held just last week.

 

Here are a few key facts about the “House Fair and Legal” plan that was introduced by Democrats.

 

  1. “House Fair and Legal” splits 129 precincts to nearly 400 under the Republican plan.

 

  1.  “House Fair and Legal” keeps whole 65 counties. The majority’s proposal has 60 whole counties.

 

  1.  “House Fair and Legal” keeps 30 more municipalities whole than the majority’s bill.

 

  • Precinct splits in the majority’s plan are clearly for the purposes of segregating black and white voters within precincts. “House Fair and Legal” splits are not.

 

The number of districts won by Obama in 2008 under the majority plan is just 42, though the president won the state. “House Fair and Legal” increases the number of those districts to 50.

 

The plan introduced by the NC Black Caucus included changes requested by voters for District 7, to keep the pairing between Nash and Halifax Counties.

 

Vetoes

 

Override votes on bills vetoed by the governor were eligible to be considered during this session. The Senate immediately voted to override six bills two weeks ago. The House followed that up this week by also overriding several bills.

 

The House voted to override these bills this week:

 

HB 854 Abortion-Women’s Right to Know Act. Requires women seeking abortions to undergo a mandatory waiting period, regardless of whether they are victims of rape or incest or if the pregnancy endangers their health. Also requires state-directed counseling and requires doctors to describe an ultrasound of the fetus to the patient no more than four hours before the procedure. The governor said the bill was a dangerous, extreme intrusion into the confidential relationship between women and their doctors. The Senate voted to override the bill on Thursday and it will now become law.

SB 33 Medical Liability Reforms. Reforms the state’s medical malpractice laws. The governor said that while bipartisan legislation on tort reform and workmen’s compensation were approved this year, the medical malpractice bill still needed work because it failed to protect people who are catastrophically injured. The bill now becomes law.

SB 496 Medicaid & Health Choice Provider Requirements. Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to screen Medicaid and Health Choice providers and applicants. The governor said she supported many aspects of the bill but that a provision that moved final decision making authority from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Office of Administrative Hearings violated federal Medicaid Law and the state constitution. The bill now becomes law.

SB 532 ESC/Jobs Reform. Creates the Division of Employment Security within the Department of Commerce and transfers the functions of the Employment Security Commission to that division. Also makes other changes the governor says would drastically change the employment system in North Carolina and increase unemployment taxes on businesses. The governor issued an executive order to make some of changes that were a part of the bill. The bill now becomes law.

SB 781 Regulatory Reform Act of 2011. Attempts to create more regulatory efficiency. This governor again said she supported many aspects of the bill, but that it moved final decision-making in many cases from the agencies of the Office of Administrative Hearings in violation of the state constitution. The bill now becomes law.

The House failed in its attempt to override HB 351, an orchestrated effort to curb voting rights and increase the influence of partisan politics and campaign donations. The legislation required voters to present government-approved photo identification at the polls. The governor said the bill was an unneeded obstacle to suppress voting, particularly among elderly, poor and African-American voters.

 

 

AROUND THE DISTRICT & MORE

 

  • “Back to School” Parent Workshop.  Friday, August 5, 2011.  In an effort to empower, educate and enlighten the parents in our community, the Parent Involvement Coordinators of Northhampton County, Roanoke Rapids Graded, and Weldon City Schools are partnering to host a “Back to School” parent workshop.  The North Carolina Parent Information and Resource Center will support this event by providing speakers and resources to parents.  Your support is needed by any donations that your organization or business can provide.  The team is requesting refreshments, drinks, door prizes, school supplies, and advertisement of the event.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Terry D. Alston at 252-536-4821 ext. 232, Tanya Byrd-Robinson at 252-534-1371 or Marcus Carey at 252-578-3156.

 

DID YOU KNOW…

 

REENTRY UPDATE, Dennis W Gaddy, Executive Director, Community Success Initiative:

 

H-642 - Certification of Restoration of Rights Act - TO ESTABLISH A CERTIFICATE OF RESTORATION OF RIGHTS THAT WILL ASSIST INDIVIDUALS CONVICTED OF LESS SERIOUS CRIMES IN DEALING WITH COLLATERAL SANCTIONS AND DISQUALIFICATIONS THAT RESULT FROM A CRIMINAL CONVICTION AND A PROCEDURE FOR ISSUING THAT CERTIFICATE.

www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=hb641

www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2011/Bills/House/PDF/H641v4.pdf

 

H-642 - Justice Reinvestment Act - TO IMPLEMENT CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE JUSTICE REINVESTMENT PROJECT, AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE ACT SHALL BE ENTITLED "THE JUSTICE REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2011.

www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=hb642

www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2011/Bills/House/PDF/H642v9.pdf

 

H-233 - Dept of Correction/Ex-offenders - TO REQUIRE THE Department of Correction to designate its Office of Research and Planning as the single state agency responsible for the coordination and implementation of reentry policy initiatives; and to encourage the department of correction to continue its efforts to assist offenders in successfully reentering society, as recommended by the joint select committee on ex‑offender reintegration into society.

www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=hb233

www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2011/Bills/House/PDF/H233v1.pdf

 

S-397 - Expungement Non-Violent Offense by a Minor - TO PROVIDE THAT A YOUTHFUL OFFENDER'S CRIMINAL RECORD MAY BE EXPUNGED OF NONVIOLENT FELONIES BUT TO ALLOW THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE EDUCATION AND TRAINING STANDARDS COMMISSION AND THE SHERIFF’S EDUCATION AND TRAINING STANDARDS COMMISSION ACCESS TO THE RECORDS Of expunction.

www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=s397

www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2011/Bills/Senate/PDF/S397v4.pdf

 

Issues of Special Interest in the Budget Bill (House Bill 200) (From AARPNC):

  • Project C.A.R.E. (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty) – The $500,000 sought by numerous aging advocacy groups for this program which provides respite care, support, education, and training to caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias was not included in the budget.  This funding was in the budget last year, but it was non-recurring due to budget constraints.
  •  Adult Protective Services – The budget cuts $2 million in state funds for adult protective services. The implication is that $2 million is available in federal Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funding to supplant/replace this loss in state funds; however, the SSBG plan for the state only targets about $1.2 million for adult protective services.  The actual reduction in funding for adult protective services is $808,075.
  • Volunteer Program Development Funding for this service ($200,000) through the Home and Community Care Block Grant at NC Division of Aging and Adult Services is eliminated.
  • Independent Living Program – Funding for this program which serves older and disabled adults is reduced by $1.77 million. 
  • Commission for Indian Affairs Services for Seniors – Funding to the NC Commission of Indians Affairs in the amount of $203,198 for home and community based services for seniors living in Sampson, Bladen, Harnett, Columbus, Cumberland, Halifax and Warren counties is eliminated.
  • Community Care of NC – The budget reduces funding for Community Care of NC (CCNC), the Medicaid care management/medical home program, by $90 million a year. Reductions are to be achieved by improved coordination of Medicaid health care providers. If these savings are not achieved, the NC Department of Health and Human Services is directed to take whatever actions are needed to reach these savings, including reducing provider reimbursement rates, or eliminating or reducing the level or duration of optional Medicaid services. (Note:  This issue is of particular concern to AARP NC as optional Medicaid services for older and disabled adults include such critical services as dental care, physical therapy, personal care services and the community alternative program which allows persons who would otherwise qualify for nursing home care to stay in their homes with services).  The budget has specific cuts to optional and mandatory services in Medicaid of $16.5 million in 2011-12 and $22 million in 2012-13.  These services include optical, durable medical equipment, specialized therapies, home health, and dental.  Additional cuts to optional services would be on top of these already identified reductions.
  • The Health and Wellness Trust Fund - This Trust Fund is eliminated.  Although some of the programs funded by the Trust Fund, including the ChecKmeds NC medication therapy management program for seniors, will be continued in the NC Department of Health and Human Services for the next year (no guarantee of funding after that), funding for the NCRx Medicare prescription drug premium assistance program for seniors with limited income and assets was not continued. 
  • Housing Trust Fund – Reduces by $2.12 million funding for the Trust Fund which is North Carolina’s only state funded and state designated resource for financing affordable housing.   This represents a 22% cut in funding from last year.
  • NC Care Line – Funding ($380,478) and 11 positions for this statewide health and human services information and referral program is eliminated.
  • Non-Profit Reductions – Grants-in-aid and contract funding for non-profits is reduced in the budget by $5 million.  There is concern that this could impact the state funding for the N.C. Senior Games health promotion and wellness program.
  • State Retirement System Contribution – Increases the State’s contribution to the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System for the 2011-2013 biennium to fund the Annual Required Contribution ($248.1 million in FY 11-12 and $336 million in FY 12-13).
  • Medicaid Waiver for Assisted Living – Section 10.38 of the Budget Bill authorizes the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance, to develop and implement a home and community-based services program under the Medicaid State Plan 1915 (i) authority in order to continue Medicaid funding of personal care services to individuals living in adult care homes.
  • Medicaid Medication Therapy Management Program – Section 10.42 of the Budget Bill mandates that the NC Department of Health and Human Services is to develop a two year medication therapy management pilot program to be administered through Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) in order to determine (i) the best method of adapting the ChecKmeds NC program to the Medicaid program and CCNC’s medical homes and (ii) the most effective and efficient role for  community-based pharmacists as active members of CCNC’s care management team.
  •  Home Care Agency Licensure Moratorium – Section 10.40A of the Budget Bill stipulates that beginning July 1, 2011, and for a period of three years thereafter, the NC Department of Health and Human Services shall not issue any licenses for home care agencies as defined in G.S. 131E-136(2) that intend to offer in-home aide services.  A license can be issued to a new home care agency in any area of the state if access to care becomes an issue during this period.  Companion and sitter services are exempt from this restriction.
  •  Payment for Low-Income Energy Assistance Program and Crisis Intervention Program (LIEAP/CIP) Section 10.56 (a) of the Budget Bill directs that the LIEAP Plan for the state shall focus the annual energy assistance payments on the elderly population age 60 and above with income up to 130% of the federal poverty level and disabled persons receiving services through the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services.  The CIP Plan shall provide assistance for vulnerable populations who meet income eligibility criteria established by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.  The CIP payment shall be paid directly to the service provider by the county department of social services and shall not exceed $600 per household in a fiscal year.
  •   Retirement System Changes – Section 29.24 of the Budget Bill permanently exempts participants in the University of North Carolina phased retirement program from the restrictions on returning to work.  Section 29.26 provides for vesting reciprocity between the state and local employees’ retirement systems and the optional retirement program for state institutions of higher learning.  Section 29.27 enables the UNC Health Care System to offer the optional retirement program as a retirement option.

Key Legislation in the 2011 Session (From AARP NC)

HB 2 – Protect Health Care Freedom:  The bill attempted to overturn the individual mandate provision of the federal Affordable Care Act, and required the State Attorney General to represent individuals who wanted to challenge the law.  This bill was vetoed by the Governor and the NC House failed to override her veto.

HB 22 – 2011 Budget Technical Corrections:  Makes technical, clarifying, and other modifications to the Budget Bill (HB 200).  Several modifications of note include the following: 

  • Specifies that the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance, shall no longer provide services under Personal Care Services (PCS) and Personal Care Services-Plus (PCS-Plus) whenever CMS approves the elimination of the PCS and the PCS-Plus programs.  The date for ending services had been January 1, 2012.
  • Clarifies that all completed applications for licensure of home care agencies that include the applicable fee that are received in the NC Division of Health Service Regulation prior to July 1, 2011, may be processed for licensure and are not subject to the licensure moratorium. 

HB 56 – Local Annexations Subject to 60% Petition: Requires that specified local pending or completed involuntary annexations be subject to a petition to deny the annexation by property owners of at least 60% of the parcels located in the area.

HB 60 – Extend Hearing Loss Task Force:  Extends the task force developing guidelines for consumers to use when purchasing a hearing aid, as recommended by the NC Study Commission on Aging.

HB 115 – Health Benefits Exchange:  Establishes the health benefits exchange which will be the board that decides which health insurance plans are offered to individuals and small businesses that do not have health insurance effective 2014 under the health care reform legislation.  AARP supports changing this legislation so that health insurance companies and health care providers are not voting members of the Health Benefits Exchange Board of Directors. Board members will be negotiating with health insurance companies and voting on the benefit plans and their costs to be included in the exchange. Consumers (individuals and small businesses) of the exchange should have a majority vote on the Board. Insurers and health care providers have a role with the new health benefits exchange, but that role should be an advisory role – not one where they will be making decisions about which plans should be included in the exchange.  The Board should also include health policy experts. This bill passed the House and is available for consideration by the Senate in 2012. (Note: A provision in HB 22, the 2011 Budget Technical Corrections Bill, allows the NC Department of Insurance and the NC Department of Health and Human Services to continue planning for the exchange which is to go into effect in January of 2014.)

HB 129 – Level Playing Field/Local Government Competition: Creates some regulatory requirements in order for local governments to provide broadband services in their jurisdictions. These requirements include items such as:  (1) hold two public hearings prior to offering services, (2) provide notice of public hearings, (3) provide the public with feasibility studies, business plans and surveys, and (4) allow private communications providers to participate in the hearing.

HB 138 – Amend Health Insurance Risk Pool Statutes: Amends the state statutes pertaining to the health insurance risk pool to make the risk pools plans more accessible and affordable to state residents.

HB 229 – Rural Operating Assistance Program Changes:  Allows a public transportation authority or regional public transportation authority to apply for elderly and disabled transportation and assistance funds on behalf of the counties that the public transportation authority or regional public transportation authority serves.

HB 234 – Juror Qualifications/Disabilities: Amends the qualifications for prospective jurors in order to allow hearing-impaired persons to serve as jurors and to provide for persons with disabilities to apply for exemptions from jury duty.

HB 263 – Retirement Allowance/Remarriage Option:  Allows certain retired members of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System and the Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System who remarried prior to the effective date of a technical correction to the retirement laws to nominate their new spouses to receive the survivor benefits, as long as the change is requested within 90 days of the enactment of this law.

HB 298 Insurance Amendments:  Among other things, this bill codifies the existing Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) within the NC Department of Insurance.  SHIIP is a statewide health benefits counseling program that provides the state's Medicare beneficiaries with counseling regarding Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance, and related health care coverage plans.

HB 331 – Allow PAs and NPs to Sign Death Certificates:  Authorizes physician assistants and nurse practitioners to complete medical certifications as to the cause of death for death registration.

HB 351 – Restore Confidence in Government:  Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed this bill which would require NC voters to produce a valid, acceptable (government issued) photo identification card in order to vote.  AARP NC and other organizations opposed this bill because many older adults do not have photo identification cards acceptable under the law.  While identification cards could be obtained from local county boards of election, this still presents a hardship for some voters.  In a time of austere budgets, and cuts to essential services for older and disabled adults, the high cost of this program is not in line with the data on the extent of voter fraud. In addition, the most likely place for fraud to occur, in absentee voting, is not addressed by the bill. The General Assembly will consider overriding the Governor’s veto in the July session.

HB 376 – Retirement Technical Corrections:  Makes several changes to technical aspects of the State Retirement System.

HB 397 – DHHS Penalties and Remedies Revision:  This bill which was recommended by the NC Department of Health and Human Services revises penalties and remedies concerning adult care homes and facilities for the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, and substance abusers.  Highlights of the bill includes: (1) Type A violations are now classified as either type A1 violations (results in death or serious physical harm, abuse, neglect or exploitation) or Type A2 violations (results in substantial risk that death or serious physical harm, abuse, neglect or exploitation will occur).  (2) The Department now has the option of assessing a penalty for Type A2 violations.  (3) The Department has discretion in determining whether a penalty shall be assessed for past corrected A1 or A2 violations.  (4) Factors are spelled out to be considered in determining amount of penalties.  (5) In lieu of assessing all or some of the penalty, the Secretary of DHHS may order a facility to provide staff training.

HB 417 – Extend Time for Site of Low/Moderate Income Housing:  Extends the time period a non-profit can holding real property as a future site for housing for low or moderate income individuals and families without paying property taxes.

HB 474 – Protect Adult Care Home Residents:  Increases minimum education and training requirements for adult care home medication aids and supervisors, strengthens adult care home infection control requirements and requires that the NC Division of Health Services Regulation review an adult care home’s compliance with infection prevention requirements as part of the Division’s annual inspection.

HB 484 – Transfer Emergency Foreclosure Program to Housing Finance Agency:  Transfers management of the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project and Fund to the NC Housing Finance Agency, and authorizes the Commissioner of Banks to acquire property subject to the approval of the State Banking Commission.

HB 509 – Exclusion of Licensure: Home Services:  Excludes from licensure a home which is co-owned or co-rented by up to three adults, two or more who have a disability and are receiving three or more hours of day services in the home or up to 24 hours of residential services in the home. The bill further stipulates that the individuals who have disabilities cannot be required to move if the individuals change services, change service providers, or discontinue services."

HB 578 – State Health Plan/Additional Changes:  Allows the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees to provide the basic plan premium-free using  available cash balance reserves, delays implementation of certain changes to the State Health Plan until September 2011, complies with the federal Affordable Care Act, clarifies the State Health Plan’s subrogation rights, grants the state Treasurer immediate access to confidential State Health Plan documents to plan for the transfer of the Plan to her office, and clarifies the Board composition and stagger initial appointments.

HB 595 – Reorganization/Legislative Oversight Committees:  Changes the structure of certain legislative committees and commissions, transfers the duties of certain committees and commissions to other committees and commissions, and changes the composition of various legislative committees and commission, and makes other conforming changes.   The Study Commission on Aging is eliminated and its duties are transferred to the  

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services which is comprised by 11 members of the Senate and 11 members of the House of Representatives.  The Oversight Committee  is to examine, on a continuing basis, the system wide issues affecting the development, budgeting, financing, administration, and delivery of health and human services, including issues relating to the governance, accountability, and quality of health and human services delivered to individuals and families in this State. The Committee shall make ongoing recommendations to the General Assembly on ways to improve the quality and delivery of services and to maintain a high level of effectiveness and efficiency in system administration at the State and local levels.

HB 596 – Transfer Surplus Property to Retirement System:  Requires that the proceeds from the sale of state-owned real property be used to support the General Fund, the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System, and the agencies to which the property had been allocated.

HB 618 – Streamline Oversight/DHHS Service Providers:  Streamlines duplicate oversight of certain service providers of the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).   Specifies that a rate-setting memorandum is to be prepared for every change or adjustment made by DHHS in service definition, policy, rule, or provider requirement that impacts services provided.  Dissolves the NC Treatment Outcomes Program Performance System (NC-TOPPS) Advisory Committee and establishes a task force made up of division staff, behavioral health managed care organizations, consumers, and providers to objectively evaluate NC-TOPPS to improve the way data are accessible across services rather than site-specific, by August 1, 2011. Allows private sector development and implementation of an internet-based, secure, and consolidated data warehouse and archive for maintaining corporate, fiscal, and administrative records of providers by September 1, 2011.  Further specifies that the DHHS Secretary shall review annually updates to policy made by the following national accrediting bodies: Council on Accreditation (COA), CARF International, Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL), the Joint Commission, NCQA, and URAC and shall take actions necessary to ensure that DHHS policy or procedural requirements do not duplicate the updated accreditation standards.

HB 622 – Nursing Homes/Food Service Inspections: Specifies that inspections shall be reduced to a minimum of two inspections per year until October 1, 2012, and thereafter reduced to a minimum of one inspection per year, if the facility achieves a grade 'A' sanitation score. If the facility receives a grade "B" or lower on its annual food service inspection, the county may conduct inspections until the food service operation achieves a grade "A" sanitation score. Nothing in this section prohibits the county from conducting an evaluation or inspection in response to a complaint or in the interest of public safety.

HB 647 – Diabetes Task Force:  Establishes the Joint Legislative Task Force on Diabetes Prevention and Awareness.  The Task Force is to report its findings and recommendations to the 2013 General Assembly.

HB 677 – Discharge of Adult Care Home Residents: Provides adult care homes with greater flexibility in the transfer and discharge of residents.  Sets out the reasons why an adult care home can transfer or discharge residents (such as protecting the welfare of the resident or other residents, inability of the home to meet the medical needs of the resident, Improvement in the resident’s health status, and failure to pay costs of services and accommodations as set forth in the contact), and establishes an appeal process related to the decisions. Also creates resident discharge teams in each county with an Adult Care Home.

HB 678 – Pilot Release of Inmates to Adult Care Homes:  Requires the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Correction to create a pilot program to allow certain inmates released from confinement to be placed in one selected adult care home in the state to receive personal care services and medication management.  Not later than 18 months after the participating adult care home admits its first resident, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Correction shall report their findings and recommendations to the Joint Legislative Corrections, Crime Control, and Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee. The report shall include an analysis of the costs and benefits of allowing this population of released inmates to be placed in an adult care home setting as compared to continuing their incarceration in a unit of the State prison system.

HB 709 – Protect and Put NC Back to Work:  (Worker’s Compensation Reforms) Changes the workers’ compensation laws in the state. An early version of the bill would have arbitrarily cut off benefits at 500 weeks; however, the final version allows for an appeals process if there is a total loss of wage earning capacity. Significant disability would still qualify for lifetime benefits.  The bill also extends temporary partial disability payments to 500 weeks, and increases survivors’ death benefits to 500 weeks and burial benefits to $10,000.

HB 808 – Revise Laws on Adult Care Homes: Allows the Department of Health and Human Services to waive the annual inspection for homes with the highest rating; however, the homes must be inspected at least once every two years.  Sets up a dispute resolution procedure that allows Adult Care Homes to dispute cited inspection deficiencies.

HB 809 – Model Health Care Associated Infections Law:   Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a statewide system for reporting health care associated infections. Hospitals will be required to report infection data to the Department through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Health Care Safety Network. The Department will release to the public aggregated data and provider-specific data on health care-associated infections only if they deem the data to be reliable and necessary to protect the public’s health.

HB 810 – Consumer Finance Amendments:  AARP, the state’s military base commanders, the Pentagon, and consumer rights advocates opposed this bill which would increase consumer loan costs on small loans. In addition to our military personnel and their families being targets for these high cost loans, seniors struggling to pay medical costs, property taxes, and other bills on fixed incomes are potential victims of these high cost loans.  This bill will take $50-70 million in interest payments from North Carolina consumers and largely benefit out-of-state financial corporations.  The Commissioner of Banks believes that there is no need for higher rates or fees for these loans. The bill passed the House on a close vote (60-55) and is eligible for consideration by the Senate in 2012.

HB 824 – Non-partisan Redistricting Commission:  Establishes an independent redistricting commission that will draw Congressional and legislative districts beginning after the 2020 census.  Bill passed the House and eligible for consideration by the Senate.

HB 916 – Statewide Expansion of 1915(b)(c) Waiver:  Establishes requirements for the Department of Health and Human Services and local Management Entities with respect to the statewide expansion of the 1915 (b)/(c) waiver for the delivery of services for individuals with mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance abuse disorders.

HB 927 – State Pension Plan Solvency Reform Act:  Increases the vesting period for employees hired on or after August 1, 2011, from five years to 10 years and effective December 1, 2011, details a new Class 1 misdemeanor which prohibits a person from improperly receiving a decedent’s retirement benefits. 

SB 22 – Administrative Procedures Act Rules: Limit Additional Costs:  Prevents an agency from adopting a rule that results in a substantial ($500,000 or more) estimated additional costs unless the rule is required to respond to at least one of the following: (1) a serious and unforeseen threat to the public health, safety or welfare, (2) an act of the General Assembly or Congress expressly requires the agency to adopt rules, (3) a change in federal or state budgetary policy, (4) a federal regulation, or (5) a court order.

SB 27 – Local Annexations Subject to 60% Petition: Requires that specified local pending or completed involuntary annexations be subject to a petition to deny the annexation by property owners of at least 60% of the parcels located in the area.

SB 31 – Clarify Penalty Unauthorized Practice of Medicine:  Clarifies the criminal penalties for the unauthorized practice of medicine.

SB 33 – Medical Liability Reforms:  The legislation limits liability for non-economic damages to $500,000 in medical malpractice cases unless the judgment finds both: (1) the plaintiff (injured party) suffered disfigurement, loss of use of part of the body, permanent injury or death, and (2) the defendant’s acts or failures, which are the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, were committed in reckless disregard of the rights of others, grossly negligent, fraudulent, intentional or with malice.  AARP NC opposed the limit on non-economic damages and the requirement that the defendant’s actions were essentially caused because they were impaired by substance (alcohol or drugs), or intended to harm the patient.  The Governor vetoed this bill.

SB 51 – Charitable Solicitations/Clarify:  Clarifies that certain organizations of educational institutions are covered by the educational institution exemption from charitable solicitations licensing requirements.   A nonprofit continuing care facility licensed under Article 64 of Chapter 58 of the General Statutes is one of the organizations exempt from the provisions.

SB 58 – Modify FMAP Cuts:  Modifies the federal medical assistance percentages (Medicaid match) cuts in the 2010-2011 state budget.

SB 166 – No Adult Left Behind:  Establishes the “No Adult Left Behind” initiative to expand economic opportunities for working adults and to achieve statewide workforce development goals and appropriates funds for that purpose.

SB 245 – Medicaid Billing by Local Health Departments: Authorizes local public health departments, district health departments, and consolidated human service agencies to bill Medicaid through an approved Medicaid clearinghouse or through the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health.

SB 248 – Update Archaic Disability Terms: Updates certain terminology in reference to persons with disabilities, as recommended by the General Statutes Commission.

SB 307 – Smart Card Biometrics against Medicaid Fraud: Establishes the North Carolina Smart Card Pilot Program to combat Medicaid fraud. 

SB 316 – Additional Section 1915 Medicaid Waiver Sites: Authorizes the NC Department of Health and Human Services to implement additional 1915 (b)(c) Medicaid waiver sites and allows state facilities to disclose certain information for purposes of collecting payment and to direct the distribution of a fund balance upon the dissolution of an area authority.

SB 323 – State Health Plan/Appropriations and Transfer:  Makes appropriations and adjustments to the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees, and transfers the State Health Plan to the Office of the State Treasurer.

SB 371 – Diabetes Alert Day:  Recognizes March 22, 2011 as Diabetes Alert Day and encourages citizens to have their blood sugar checked  and to have their health care providers assess their plan to treat or avoid diabetes.

SB 375 – Facilitate Statewide Health Information Exchange:  Facilitates and regulates the disclosure of protected health information through a voluntary, statewide health information network.  

SB 384 – Conforming Changes/Persons with Disabilities Act:  Amends the North Carolina Persons with Disabilities Act to conform to federal changes under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008.

SB 407 – Trusts and Estate Planning Changes:  Amends the laws governing trusts, estate planning, and trust companies.

SB 437 – Enact First Evaluation Program:  Authorizes the Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services to allow certain providers to conduct initial (first-level) examinations for involuntary commitment of individuals with mental illness, in a manner consistent with the First Evaluation Pilot Program.

SB 449 – Task Force on Fraud against Older Adults:  Directs the Consumer Protection Division in the NC Department of Justice to coordinate a task force on fraud against older adults. The task force will identify laws that will provide older adults greater protection against abuse and fraud, create a statewide reporting system of fraud and mistreatment of older adults, identify opportunities for partnerships with organizations such as the Banking Commission to prevent fraud, and give the Attorney General the authority to initiate prosecutions for fraud against older adults.

SB 474 – Photo ID for Certain Controlled Substances:  Directs pharmacies to require photo identification prior to dispensing a Schedule II controlled substance, or any of the Schedule III controlled substances listed in subdivisions 1. through 8. of G.S. 90-91(d).

SB 496 – Medicaid and Health Choice Provider Requirements:  Delineates requirements related to these providers.

SB 512 – Authorize Overnight Respite Pilot:  Authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to create a pilot overnight respite program for facilities that offer adult day care. A minimum of two and a maximum of four, stable and successful certified adult day care programs will be selected for the pilot.  The provision of 24-hour care under the pilot shall not exceed 14 consecutive calendar days, or more than 60 total calendar days, during a 365-day period, for each participant receiving overnight respite services. The capacity of the 24-hour overnight respite program shall not exceed six beds. The State is not authorized to pay for any overnight respite services offered through this pilot, and the pilot shall not be eligible to enroll or otherwise participate in the Medicaid program.

SB 578 – Facilitate Transfer State Psychiatric Hospital Beds to Community Facility:  Facilitates the transfer of beds to community facilities within certain Local Management Entities.

SB 593 – Government Reduction Act:  Abolishes certain state boards, commissions, and committees.

SB 607 – Conform Medical Records Laws: Conforms medical record confidentiality laws.

SB 608 – Health Care Sharing Organizations:  Exempts health care sharing organizations from the health insurance regulatory laws.

SB 609 – Facilitate Locum Tenens Physicians: Amends the insurance laws to facilitate the use of locum tenens (temporary substitute) physicians.  The bill also addresses Medicaid provider assessments and amends the Board of Pharmacy rules to grant authority to pharmacists to administer influenza vaccine to patients aged 14 and older.

SB 620 – Clarify Use of Position:  Clarifies that a legislator’s or public servant’s position may be disclosed in an agenda or other document related to a meeting, conference, or similar event.  The bill also modifies the reporting requirements for lobbyist principals. 

SB 670 – Revise Membership/Hearing Aid Fitters Board:  Addresses hearing aid fitting and dispensing by certain licensed audiologists and revises the membership on the NC State Hearing Aid Dealers and Fitters Board.

SB 686 – 2011 Appointments Bill:  Appoints persons to various public offices upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and appoints a member of the Board of Directors for the NC Partnership for Children, Inc, upon the recommendation of the minority and majority leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives.

SB 708 – Building Code Rules/Effective Dates:  Reconciles the effective dates of certain rules adopted by the Building Code Council related to the 2012 Energy Conservation Code and the 2012 NC residential Code.

SB 743 – Encourage Volunteer Health Care Providers: Encourages the provision of medical services to indigent persons by providing for a retired limited volunteer license and by broadening the applicability of a limited volunteer license and by limiting liability for non-profit community health referral services.

SB 781 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2011:  Stipulates that an agency shall not seek to implement or enforce a policy, guideline, or other nonbinding interpretive statement that meets the definition of a rule contained in G.S. 150B-2(8a) if the policy, guideline, or other nonbinding interpretive statement has not been adopted as a rule in accordance with the provisions as spelled out in the bill.  This provision scales back rules and the rule making process.  The bill states its intent is to increase regulatory efficiency in order to balance job creation and environmental protection.

 

Ethics Tips – Non Profit Information

 

A legislator may permit a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to use that legislator's public position in a charitable solicitation.  G.S. 138A-31(b).

 

A Moment of Gratitude

 

On behalf of the Roanoke Canal Museum and Trial, I want to thank you for your support of the arts in Halifax County in this year’s session of the General Assembly.  The grant that the museum and trail received from the Halifax County Arts Council made possible our inaugural “Blast from the Past” summer day camp where children ages 9-12 learned in a fun and interactive way more about the history of the region as well as the history of the arts and how the region’s culture has developed in the past two centuries.  With Thanks, Lance Jenkins, Manager, Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail.

 

The City of Roanoke Rapids Parks and Recreation Department would like to thank you as a representative of Halifax County for your support of the arts in our community during this year’s session of the General Assembly. With Legislator support, our county was awarded funds for arts programs. The portion of these funds awarded the Roanoke Rapids Parks and Recreation Department Jo Story Senior Center were used to provide two heritage craft classes. The Grassroots Arts Program allowed us to teach heritage craft skills which incorporate locally available natural materials into useful and decorative objects.  Thank you again for your support of the arts in North Carolina and especially Halifax County.  Sincerely, Rose W. Massey, Supervisor, Jo Story Senior Center.

 

The Halifax County Arts Council is very grateful for your support of the arts in North Carolina.  With the funds we have received from the NC Arts Council we have been able to undertake a variety of activities in the past year that have increased awareness and access to the arts in our community.  In addition, we have been able to support other grassroots organizations and their arts programs, including several programs for children.  Without your support, these programs would not be possible.  We appreciate the foundation the funding from the state provides. It allows us to continue to grow in our community and enrich the lives of all of our citizens.  Sincerely, Sherry Wade, Board Chair.

 

 

 

 

Contact:  Representative Angela R. Bryant, House of Representatives, NC House District 7

North Carolina General Assembly • 542 Legislative Office Building • 300 N. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC  27603 919-733-5878-Phone • 919-754-3289-FAX • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or Karon Hardy, Legislative Assistant at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional information