HB 256, VA Survivors Benefits/Medicaid Eligibility (Farmer-Butterfield, Glazier, Lewis). HB 256 will allow a deduction for Veterans Affairs survivors pension benefit when defining income for Medicaid eligibility. It received a favorable report from the House Military and Homeland Security committee this week and will next be heard in the House Health committee.
HB 317, Improve Education for Children Who Are Deaf (Blackwell, Farmer-Butterfield, Holloway, Martin). HB 317 would mandate that the State Board of Education develop assessment procedures and protocols to measure the acquisition of language skills necessary for literacy; require an IEP team to use the Comprehensive Exceptional Children Accountability System, Communication Plan Worksheet for Student Who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing, to document (i) the team's consideration of the language and communication needs of the individual child as the IEP is developed, (ii) placement decisions made for that child, and (iii) the team's review, at least annually, of the child's placement and language and communication needs; ensure that personnel who are highly qualified in the education of children who are deaf or hard of hearing are available to meet the unique needs of each child; and develop and implement strategies to ensure that parents of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing know they are entitled to request that the child's IEP team consider placement of their child in a residential setting. It is scheduled to be heard next Tuesday, March 26 at 10 am.
SB 45, Incapacity to Proceed (Randleman). SB 45 was approved unanimously in the House this week. It is scheduled for Monday evening in the Senate for a concurrence vote.
SB 140, Financial Exploitation of Older Adults (Bingham). SB 140 makes several recommended changes to the law to increase the recognition, reporting, and prosecution of those who defraud or financially exploit older adults, and to continue the Task Force on Fraud Against Older Adults. A Proposed Committee Substitute was approved by the Senate Health committee this week and will next be heard in Senate Judiciary I.
SB 334, Dorothea Dix Lease (Hise, Pate, Tucker). SB 334 seeks to take by condemnation the leasehold interest in the Dix property that was conveyed to the City of Raleigh. It further specifies that any proceeds from sale or lease of the property shall be used solely for mental health treatment purposes, which the General Assembly determines under the doctrine of cy pres to be as near as may be to the purpose of its acquisition of the property for charitable purposes. The bill does allow for the lease of a portion of the property for use as a public park, with any proceeds thereof allocated to mental health purposes. SB 334 was approved by the Senate Appropriations committee this week after a heated discussion. It is scheduled for a full Senate vote on Monday evening.
New Legislation Filed This Week
HB 344, Uniform MH Reporting Requirements For NICS (Insko, Glazier, Luebke, Foushee). HB 344 seeks to amend G.S. 122C‑54(d1) regarding transmission of involuntary commitment data to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to mandate the transmittal of involuntary commitment data, as well as other judicial determinations, to the NICS within 48 hours. It has been referred to the House Rules committee.
HB 350, Court Improvement Project Juvenile Law Changes (Agency Bill) (Jordan, C. Graham). HB 350 proposes various changes to the juvenile code as proposed by the Court Improvement Project. It has been referred to the House Judiciary B committee.
HB 385, Youth Accountability Task Force (S. Stevens). HB 385 seeks to establish the Youth Accountability Planning Task Force in the Division of Juvenile Justice, Department of Public Safety and to Appropriate Funds for a Pilot Transitional Housing Program. The Task Force would study educational services by Juvenile Justice, including the best structure for delivering the services, whether they provide adequate vocational training for the population; the adequacy of transitional housing for delinquent juveniles exiting youth development centers and the feasibility of providing transitional housing for juveniles exiting youth development centers with children transitioning from foster care to independent housing; whether the Tarheel Challenge program operated by the North Carolina National Guard should be expanded so that the program can be an alternative for all juvenile dispositional levels; the feasibility of providing tuition waivers in the Community College System for juveniles committed to youth development centers and in post‑release supervision status; and the adequacy of dispositional options available to Juvenile Court for status offenders. The bill also seeks $650,000 per year to implement a pilot program for transitional housing for juveniles exiting youth development centers. It has been referred to the House Judiciary C committee and Appropriations.
HB 392, Share Arrest Warrant Status/Public Assistance (Arp, Horn, Starnes, Burr). HB 392 would require a County Department of Social Services (DSS) to conduct a criminal check on applicants and recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Family (TANF) Benefits or Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) Benefits; require DSS to share information with a local Law Enforcement Agency regarding any applicant or recipient who has an outstanding arrest warrant; and to deny benefits to an applicant or recipient who has an outstanding warrant for a felony or for a probation or parole violation. It has been referred to the House Health and Human Services committee.
HB 393, Essential Funding for Public Schools (Agency Bill) (Glazier, Michaux, Gill, Fisher). HB 393 sets out a number of funding requests for the Department of Public Instruction, including a request of $1.35 million for a Special State Reserve for Children with Special Needs, to be used to increase available funds to support local school administrative units and charter schools that serve high‑cost and high‑need students with disabilities who enroll during the first 60 days of school. It also requests funds to support the School for the Blind and the Schools for the Deaf: summer school initiative, Career Technical Education program; technology and safety equipment for the Governor Morehead school; and preschool and Early Intervention programs. It has been referred to the House Appropriations committee.
HB 397, Expand District Judge Eligibility (Burr, Collins, Stone, Hager). HB 397 would allow Sheriffs, Clerks of Superior Court and Magistrates with 10 or more years of service, and law enforcement officers with 25 years of experience to serve as a District Court judge. It has been referred to the House Rules and Judiciary committees.
HB 399, Amend Laws Pertaining to DHHS (Agency Bill) (Burr, Hollo, Avila). HB 399 seeks to make changes requested by DHHS to laws Pertaining to Child Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency; Medicaid; and Public Health, including payment of Medicaid expenses from a recipient’s estate; and additional Medicaid providers in the limited and moderate risk categories. It has been referred to the House Committee On Health and Human Services and Human Services, Judiciary Subcommittee C and Appropriations.
SB 361, Excellent Public Schools Act of 2013 (Berger, Tillman, Soucek). Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger introduced his education reform bill this week. It is very similar to last year’s Excellent Public Schools Act, which failed to pass the House (parts of the 2012 were included in the budget). The bill consists of five major components: 1. Improving literacy by the end of the third grade; 2. Maximizing instructional time; 3. Increasing teacher accountability and ending "career status"; 4. Developing another grading system for schools; and 5. Requiring DPI to review Common Core Assessments. It has been referred to the Senate Education committee.
SB 364, Update Electronic Prescription Rules (Brock). SB 364 directs the Board of Pharmacy to adopt rules relating to electronic prescriptions, including requirements for HIPPA compliance; complying with the request of a patient not to send electronically a patient's prescription or information related to the patient's prescription; and a requirement that electronic prescribing software and hardware must support access to data necessary for clinical and patient decision making, including, but not limited to, adverse events and up‑to‑date formulary information, co‑pay requirements, and prescription tier information. It has been referred to the Senate Health Care committee.
SB 368, Inmates Prescriptions/Pistol Permits (Bingham). SB 368 seeks to implement a $10 co-pay for prescription medication dispensed in a county jail. It has been referred to the Senate Judiciary I and Finance committees.