The Raleigh Report by Representative Phil Shepard – February 1, 2013
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 530
Raleigh, NC 27603
Raleigh, NC - This week we started the 151st session of the North Carolina General Assembly and the House of Representatives started the session off in a big way. Two very important pieces of legislation were discussed this week regarding Unemployment Insurance Reform and providing a fix for mental health group home residents in danger of losing their services. This session there is a Republican supermajority with 77 members in the House, 33 in the Senate, and a Republican serving in the Governor’s Mansion.
The Unemployment Insurance Reform, House Bill 4, is addressing the $2.4 billion debt that North Carolina businesses owe to the federal government for unemployment benefits. North Carolina has already made over $230 million in payments over the last three years towards this debt, but as long as the debt exists Federal Unemployment Taxes (FUTA) will increase on businesses at the rate of $21 per employee per year until the debt is paid. House Bill 4 is sponsored by Representatives Julia Howard, Harry Warren, Edgar Starnes, and Mitchell Setzer. It is an economically-responsible solution to this problem and will result in the debt being paid by mid-2016. This Bill will also stabilize our state unemployment insurance fund, leaving North Carolina with $1 billion in reserves to ensure that this problem does not happen again. House Bill 4 was passed out of the House Finance committee on Thursday morning and is expected to pass the full chamber and be sent to the Senate next week.
House Bill 5 is sponsored by Representatives Nelson Dollar and Justin Burr and provides a short-term solution to the group home issue by stipulating that $39.7 million funds appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services in last year’s budget will be allowed to be utilized for group home payments. The House unanimously passed House Bill 5 on Thursday. The House took immediate action on this Bill to provide assistance to group home residents who were in danger of losing their Medicaid-covered person care services because of the recent changes to Medicaid eligibility requirements. A permanent solution is still needed, but by taking swift action so early in the session we have ensured that every group home resident will be protected and their services will continue until a permanent solution can be reached.
I am currently working on a Bill to be entitled regarding an act to require mopeds to be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles and to have in full force and effect a policy of financial responsibility. This morning I met with the Onslow Board of Realtors to discuss their concerns about possible upcoming legislation.
This semester we have Kaley McCloskey working as an intern in my office. She is the granddaughter of Billy and Barbara Woodward. Mr. Billy Woodward was the sheriff of Onslow County from 1978-1990. Kaley is a senior at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and will be graduating in May with a Bachelors of Arts is Political Science and Global Studies with a focus in the Politics of Western Europe and the European Union. Senator Brown has two interns this semester, Jacob Yaniero and Dustin Hale. Jacob is from our district and is the son of Michael and Fay Yaniero. Many of you may know Mike Yaniero, who is the Director of Public Safety for Jacksonville. Dustin is from High Point, is a Senior at NC State and was a Congressional Intern in D.C. last summer for Senator Richard Burr and Rep. Howard Coble.
As always if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact my office.
Rep. Phil Shepard
|Committees for the 2013-2014 Session