The General Assembly convened last week on Wednesday for two days of fast-paced, substantial lawmaking. The House of Representatives filed a total of 62 bills by Thursday evening, and the Senate filed a total of 42 by that same time.
Tonight, the Senate will take up a bill that passed the Senate Insurance committee last Thursday, that states North Carolina will not expand its Medicaid program, or be involved with the health care exchanges under the federal Affordable Care Act.
In the House chamber tonight, the Unemployment Insurance bill will be debated. The bill passed the House Finance committee last week on partisan lines, with objections from the Democrats. If the proposal is ratified, it would mean that the year of emergency extended unemployment benefits, which were approved by Congress in January, would end six months early in North Carolina. Last Thursday evening, Governor McCrory announced his support of the proposal.
Last week the House unanimously approved legislation that would make adult group homes eligible for emergency state supplemental funds through June 30. During the last session, the legislature set aside $39 million to help keep adult care homes open in the face of Medicaid changes that cut funding. A mistake in that bill excluded group homes from the funding last year. There is still uncertainty if, or when, the Senate will take up the bill.
Other bills that will likely see the floor for debate this year include a law to require owners of mopeds to register and carry insurance, an effort to restore partisan judicial elections, and a reform public education and its funding. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis is the primary sponsor of a bill that, if passed, will allow North Carolina citizens to vote on a constitutional amendment to deem the state as a Right to Work State. Speaker Tillis is also the primary sponsor of a bill to compensate eugenics victims, and the primary sponsor of a bill to put a constitutional limit on the terms of legislative leaders. Both bills were filed during the 2011-2012 years, but failed to become law by the close of session.
State Auditor Beth Wood released an audit of North Carolina’s Medicaid program last week, which revealed that the program is lacking oversight; and a large amount of unwieldy spending is occurring, with some of it being unauthorized. The audit found that overall spending in the Medicaid program has exceeded budget by $1.4 billion over the past three years. Governor Pat McCrory and Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Aldona Wos said these findings show evidence that state government is broken and that immediate changes will need to be made to fix the cost overruns and high administrative overhead.
The General Assembly will reconvene tonight, February 4th, at 7:00P.M.
State legislators return to Raleigh today to begin their two-year session, promising changes that will affect most residents, if not all.
An unemployment insurance package that would eliminate North Carolina’s $2.6 billion debt to the federal government by cutting jobless benefits and raising business taxes remains on the fast track at the General Assembly.
Inefficient management and lax oversight of contracts led to North Carolina spending much more to administer its Medicaid program than similar-size states, officials said Thursday.
Republican state Sen. Bob Rucho is screening his PowerPoint to yet another audience, watching slide after slide build a case for changing North Carolina tax law.
Please contact the Raleigh McGuireWoods Consulting team if you have any questions or comments:
Harry Kaplan, Senior Vice-President
Jeff Barnhart, Senior Vice-President
Franklin Freeman, Senior Vice-President
John Merritt, Senior Vice-President
Johnny Tillett, Senior Vice-President
Rita Harris, Vice-President
Bo Heath, Vice-President
Kerri Burke, Assistant Vice-President
Sarah Wolfe, Research Assistant
Katy Feinberg, Strategic Communications