NCGA Week in Review

February 16, 2018

Pardon Our Dust

We recently launched this new site and are still in the process of updating some of our archived content. Some details of this article may be incomplete, links may be broken, and other elements may not display properly yet. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

The legislature’s special session wrapped up on Tuesday and they are notexpected to return to Raleigh until the short session, which begins on May16. Several interim committees met this week, discussing topics includingthe state’s electronic recycling program, access to healthcare and theimplementation of “Raise the Age.”

Special Session Wraps Up

After work at the legislature ramped uplast week, the special session adjourned this Tuesday. This week:

  • The House okayed HB 90: Changes to Education and Election Laws which has been sent to the Governor. He has 30 days from February 13 to sign or veto the bill.
  • HB 189: Water Safety Act , which was sent to the House from the Senate for concurrence, was referred to the House Select Committee on NC River Quality. The committee has been studying water safety and emerging contaminants throughout the interim and is meeting next Tuesday.

Access to Rural Health Care Discussed by Research Committee

The Legislative Research Committee on Access to Healthcare in Rural NC heldtheir second meeting of the interim yesterday. During their meeting, thecommittee receivedpresentationson topics including telemedicine and access to pharmacies and dental care.

Study Recommends Telemedicine

Director of the Office of Rural Health Maggie Sauerpresentedthe results of a 2017studyof telemedicine. The Department of Health and Human Services believes thattelemedicine can improve the health of North Carolinians if the staterequires Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to incorporate telemedicineinto their payment models and if the state expands broadbandinfrastructure. According to apresentationfrom NC Department of Information Technology Research and Policy SpecialistAmy Huffman, 95% of households without broadband internet access are inrural areas.

State of Health Care Access in Rural NC

East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine Dean Dr. GregoryChadwickinformedthe committee that roughly 30% of the state experiences barriers to accessdental care. NC Dental Society Delegate Dr. Gary Oysterovervieweddental outreach programs that provide free services to people in need.

The committee also heard from NC Board of Pharmacy Executive Director JayCampbell whohighlightedhow pharmacists can play a larger role in providing healthcare in ruralareas.

NC Board of Nursing Education and Advanced Practice Nursing Consultant Dr.Bobby Lowery provided astatementto the committee recommending the use of nurse practitioners, nurseanesthetists, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists to mitigate theimpact of the rural healthcare crisis.

Committee Discusses Building Code Regulatory Reform

TheHouse Select Committee on Implementation of Building Code Reformmet yesterday to receive presentations from home builders and inspectors onthe challenges they face due to current laws.

What’s Going On?

According to the Department of Insurance, current building inspection lawsand codes are interpreted differently by each jurisdiction, resulting ininconsistent application.

Anything Else?

Both the builders and inspectors also emphasized workforce concerns, sayingthere are not enough skilled construction workers or inspectors to meetdemands as the housing market rebounds from the recession.

Electronic Recycling Program Discussed by Environmental ReviewCommission

The Environmental Review Commission met on Wednesday to discuss the state’selectronic recycling program.

Tell Me More:

In 2010, NC enacted a law banning the disposal of certain electronics inlandfills. The law also helped expand private and public infrastructure tomanage recycling of devices. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)Division of Waste Management Director Michael Scott presented an overviewof theprogram, noting that 99.4% of North Carolinians have access to recycling centers.

The committee also heard fromMecklenburg County, which operates a large recycling program, and two of the electronicrecycling companiesthat work with local governments in NC.

What’s Next?

DEQ Recycling Coordinator Scott Mouw suggested the legislature increasefunding to local recycling programs to strengthen the program, which can bedifficult for small and rural counties to fully manage. Committee membersindicated an interest in restructuring how the program is funded to provideclarity to North Carolinians.

Emergency Management Oversight Committee Discusses Manmade Disasters

The Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee metyesterday where they continued discussions on preparing the state formanmade disasters.

What Did They Discuss?

The committee heard presentations on fire preparedness, situationalawareness and securing the electric grid. Chief State Fire Marshal BrianTaylorupdatedthe committee on Fire Code enforcement, noting that the biggest impedimentto enforcement is that Code Enforcement officers are only inside businessesonce every three years. CEO of TigerSwan LLC James Reesepresentedto the committee on technology his company has developed to provideinformation to first responders in emergency situations. Executive Directorof the Federal Taskforce on National and Homeland Security Dr. Vincent Pryprovided anoverviewof efforts that NC could take to “keep the lights on” if there was ablackout caused by terrorists in NC.

Health & Human Services Oversight Subcommittees Meet

Two subcommittees of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Healthand Human Services met this week.

Subcommittee on Aging Discusses Care Programs for Elderly, AdoptsFinal Report

The Subcommittee on Aging met on Monday. Several associations overviewedthe health programs available to seniors in NC, includinghospice care, residentialhealth careandsenior livingfacilities andadult day services. The subcommittee’s finalreport, which overviews the activities of the committee in the interim and doesnot include any legislative proposals was also approved at the meeting.

Subcommittee on Graduate Medical Education & Medical ResidencyPrograms Holds First Meeting

The Subcommittee on Graduate Medical Education & Medical ResidencyPrograms, which ischargedto develop a statewide proposal to support medical education and medicalresidency programs within NC, held their first meeting on Monday. Thecommittee received a number ofpresentations, including anoverviewof current graduate and medical education funding from the Fiscal ResearchDivision of the legislature. Overall, presentations reported that theexisting structure is failing to meet workforce needs.

Lottery Oversight Committee Holds First Meeting

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on the NC State Lottery heldtheir first meeting of the interim on Thursday.

What Did They Discuss?

The committee received presentations on the current lottery system in NC,including areportthat options exist to increase lottery proceeds for education from ProgramEvaluation Division Principal Program Evaluator Jim Horne.

Executive Director of the NC Education Lottery Alice Garland provided anupdateto the committee. According to Garland, the lottery has raised over $5.6billion for education in 11 years. She also updated the committee on theimplementation ofKeno, a quick-draw lottery game that launched in October 2017 and features gameterminals in social settings, like restaurants and bowling alleys. Garlandnoted increased lottery proceeds for education and sales at participatingretailers.

Raise the Age Discussed at Justice & Public Safety OversightCommittee

On Thursday, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice &Public Safety met to receive presentations from State Highway Patrol, whoprovided anupdateon their activities, and Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice WilliamLassiter, who provided anupdateon Raise the Age.

What About Raise the Age?

SB 257: Appropriations Act of 2017included aprovisionto raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction, for most crimes, allowing 16 and17 year olds to be tried as juveniles, not adults. Lassiter updated thecommittee on the Department of Public Safety’s planning and implementationefforts, including the creation of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee,and hosting stakeholder and community forums. The Juvenile JusticeReinvestment Act will go into effect in December 2019.

A Look Ahead to Next Week

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

3:00 PM Social Services Regional Supervision and Collaboration WorkingGroup

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

9:00 AM Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Division of Local SchoolAdministrative Units

9:30 AM House Select Committee on NC River Quality

Thursday, February 21, 2018

10:00 AM Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform