Friday, May 25, 2012

Bill Update for the Week of May 21

The North Carolina legislature came back to Raleigh for the 2012 short session last week, on May 16. This session is indeed expected to be short, with both House and Senate leadership proclaiming that the session will adjourn by the beginning of July. Starting this week, we will resume the weekly bill updates.

New Legislation Filed

HB 947, Eugenics Compensation Program (Womble, Tillis, Parmon and Stam sponsors). This legislation seeks to provide $50,000 to verified individuals who were forcibly sterilized by the state of North Carolina. Disability Rights NC has provided input and is following this legislation to ensure that recipients who currently receive public assistance are protected to the maximum extent possible. The bill received a favorable report from the House Judiciary and Finance committees this week. It is next scheduled to be heard in House Appropriations.

HB 948, Repeal Literacy Test (Alexander, K.). HB 948 proposes a constitutional amendment to repeal the requirement that persons present themselves for voter registration and read and write a section of the Constitution, both of which requirements have been prohibited by federal law. It was filed in the House last week and referred to the House Judiciary committee.

HB 981, Dix Property Sale to Require GA Approval (Dollar, Burr and Hurley sponsors)/SB 833 (Pate). HB 981 prohibits the sale of the Dorothea Dix property without the approval of the General Assembly. It has been referred to the House Health and Human Services committee.

HB 1002, Bill of Rights/Deaf/Hearing Impaired (Blackwell, Holloway, Jordan and Gill sponsors). HB 1002 seeks to add particular communication needs needs of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing that must be addressed in the IEP process. It was referred to the House Judiciary A committee.

HB 1048, Incapacity to Proceed Amendmets (Randleman, Hurley, Faircloth, McGuirt sponsors). HB 1048 seeks to make various changes to NC law applying to individuals who do not have the capacity to proceed in criminal matters. DRNC participated in the study committee from which these recommendations came and we support the bill.  It has been referred to the House Judiciary A committee.

HB 1055, Eliminate LME Provider Endorsement (Burr, Dollar sponsors)/SB 835 (Pate).  HB 1055 seeks to remove the LME provider endorsement provisions from the state statute.  This bill was a recommendation of the Joint Health and Human Services Legislative Oversight Committee.  It has been referred to the House Health and Human Services committee.

HB 1075, LME/MCO Governance (Dollar, Burr sponsors)/SB 875 (Pate).  HB 1075 suggests several changes to the laws governing the local management entities, including board structure, the ability of a county to disengage from an LME, the ability to own property and borrow money, and to keep confidential "competitive health care information."  It also proposes provisions that seek to provide continuity in guardianship for individuals who have been wards of LMEs.  It has been filed in the House but not yet referred to a committee.

HB 1146, Make Disabled Child Ed. Tax Credit Refundable (Stam, Randleman, Jones, Jordan sponsors).     This  tax credit that was passed by legislation in 2011 (for families of students with disabilities who send their child with a disability to a private school).  This bill would make that credit refundable, i.e., if the credit led to an overpayment of taxes, that portion would be refundable to the family.  It has been filed in the House but not yet referred to committee.

SB 797, Payment of 2012 Medicaid Costs/Inmate Medical Costs (Brunstetter, Hunt, Stevens sponsors).  SB 797 was filed on the first day of session to allow the Governor to move money from various sources to cover the Medicaid shortfall.  The bill was amended in the House to prohibit any request for proposals for, or enter into any new contract for, the operational  oversight or management of health care services for inmates in the State prison system (i.e., privatize) without the prior approval of the General Assembly through a legislative act. However, it does make clear that the Department of Public Safety may continue to enter into contracts with providers to staff clinics within the existing health care delivery system without prior approval.  The prison provision was added after concerns were raised by the State Employees Association of NC.  The bill has passed both chambers and has been presented to the Governor.

SB 798, Various Emergency Management Changes (Brunstetter).  SB 798 makes various changes to the statutes and establishes the Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee.  The bill has already been approved by the Senate and referred to the House.

SB 810, Regulatory Reform Act of 2012 (Rouzer, Brown, Davis sponsors).  SB 810 makes various changes to the Administrative Procedures Act.  Of relevance to the work of DRNC, is the provision that extends the date by which final decision-making authority passes from the Division of Medical Assistance to the Office of Administrative Hearings to February 1, 2013, or when the waiver is granted, whichever comes first.  The bill received a favorable report from the Senate Commerce committee and will next be heard by the full Senate.

SB 851, Boards and Commissions Efficiency Act of 2012 (Brown, Rouzer, Soucek sponsors).  SB 851 seeks to downsize or eliminate dozens of boards and commissions, including the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities (downsize), Brain Injury Advisory Council (eliminate), Interagency Coordinating Council of Children from Birth to Five with Disabilities and their Families  (eliminate), and Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services (downsize).  The bill has been referred to the Senate committee on Program Evaluation.