Joint Appropriations subcommittees continued to meet this week to review matters pertaining to their portion of the budget. In Health and Human Services, the committee heard from a number of non-profits receiving state funding, including the Autism Society and Easter Seals UCP. Justice and Public Safety heard reports pertaining to the Department of Justice, including legal services generally, the Medicaid Fraud unit, and the Justice Reinvestment Act. The Education subcommittee also reviewed basic budget information including the Children with Disabilities headcount (online here) and charter school data, which includes percentage of children with disabilities by school (online here).
HB 5, Temporary Funding/Group Homes and Special Care Units (Dollar, Burr). HB 5 allows individuals in group homes who are no eligible for Personal Care Services due to the change in law and individuals in Special Care Units who have reduced Personal Care Services due to the change in law to access the $39.7 mil allocated in last year’s budget for residents of Adult Care Homes who lost Personal Care Services due to the eligibility changes. It was approved by the Senate Appropriations committee and the full Senate this week. The bill will now proceed back to the House for a concurrence vote due to changes to the bill that were made in the Senate.
HB 29, Methemphetamine/Offense/Penalties (Horn, Faircloth, Tolson, Stevens). HB 29 provides enhanced penalties for the offense of manufacturing methamphetamine when a child, person with a disability or elder resides or was present at the property used for the manufacturing. HB 29 was approved by the full House this week. It will next be considered by the full Senate, where it has been referred to the Senate Judiciary I committee.
SB 4, No NC Exchange/No Medicaid Expansion (Apodaca, Brown, Rucho). SB 4 seeks to prohibit Medicaid expansion and a state-federal partnership health benefit exchange. The Senate voted this week not to concur with the House changes made to SB 4. The bill has been referred to a conference committee of Sens. Apodaca, Rucho, Hise and Brown, and Reps. Burr, Dollar, Avila and Brisson.
SB 14, Increase Access to Career/Technical Education (Tillman, Brown, Soucek). SB 14 establishes (i) college, (ii) career, and (iii) college and career endorsements to high school diplomas to encourage students to obtain requisite job skills and to reduce the need for remedial education in institutions of higher education. These endorsements shall reflect courses completed, overall grade point average, and other criteria as developed by the State Board of Education. SB 14 also directs the State Board of Education to identify schools with unmet recruitment needs for career and technical education teachers and to coordinate placement of NC Teacher Corps members in those schools. The bill was the first bill signed into law this session, SL 2013-1.
New Legislation Filed This Week
HB 109, Require Safety Helmets/18 & Under (Torbett, Speciale). HB 109 seeks to eliminate the requirements of a safety helmet for adults on a motorcycle if (1) the operator has held a motorcycle license for more than 12 months or successfully completed the course of instruction offered by the Motorcycle Safety Instruction Program; and (2) is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle. The bill would also allow adult passengers to ride without a helmet if the operator meets the above requirements and the passenger has at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while riding on a motorcycle. It has been referred to the House Transportation committee, and the Judiciary B subcommittee if favorable.
HB 120, Building Inspections/Local Consistency (Hager, W. Brawley, Cotham, Arp)/SB 108 (Apodaca, Hunt, Ford). HB 120 would require approval from the NC Building Code Council before a unit of local government can require building inspections of One- and Two-Family dwellings in addition to those required by the Building Code and also specifies the frequency and effective dates of Code updates. The bill specifies that the Building Code Council shall review all applications and approve or disapprove in a timely manner but it does not dictate any guidelines upon which such decisions should be made.
HB130, Mental Health Workers’ Bill of Rights (Bell). HB 130 contains language from bills filed in past sessions and seeks to enact a bill of rights in Chapter 122C for mental health workers. It has been referred to the House Health and Human Services committee.
SB125, Public Meetings/Records Laws Violations (Goolsby, Apodaca). SB 125 would make violations of the public records and open meetings laws a Class 3 misdemeanor. It was filed in the Senate on Thursday and has not yet been referred to committee.