Jones and Onslow Counties- 6th District
300-B Legislative Office Building
300 N. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
February 22, 2013
I am pleased to announce that the first bill Governor McCrory signed into law was a bipartisan bill I have worked on since I was first elected to the Senate. Senate Bill 14, Increase Access To Career/Technical Education will require that the State Board of Education develop career and college endorsements for high school diplomas. We are planning a local event to celebrate this bill and I’ll let you know when it occurs.
On Monday, Governor McCrory presented the State of the State Address in a joint House and Senate session that was televised across the State. His priorities include the economy, education reform and government efficiency. These are priorities shared with the Senate.
On Wednesday, the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association (NCADA) held their Young Dealers day at the General Assembly. It was a delight to meet so many enthusiastic participants in my industry.
On Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee passed Senate Bill 76, the Domestic Energy Jobs Act. This comprehensive energy bill paves the way for a flourishing onshore and offshore energy sector. Abundant energy resources exist right here in North Carolina – resources that could create thousands of new jobs, generate billions of dollars in new revenue, and lead us toward energy independence.
House Bill 5, Temporary Funding/Group Homes & SCUs, passed out of the Senate and will be sent to the Governor to be signed into law. This bill extends temporary funds to group homes and special care units through June 30th. This bill will help people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and Alzheimer’s Disease remain in group homes and special care units through the end of June. At that time those who don’t qualify for Medicaid personal care services (PCS) must have transitioned to a long-term arrangement that complies with federal law and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since my office has received numerous calls about the funding of group homes, I want to provide some background on this matter. The Obama administration threatened to cut off all funding for Medicaid personal care services (PCS) unless the General Assembly ensured that equally situated patients in adult care homes, group homes and community homes received comparable services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. Beginning on January 1, 2013, some residents in adult care homes, group homes and special care units no longer met the federal guidelines necessary to qualify for Medicaid PCS payments. Lawmakers understood the difficulty that complying with these federal mandates would create for residents who would no longer qualify for PCS. That’s why, despite a tremendous budgetary shortfall in Medicaid, the General Assembly appropriated $39.7 million in temporary funds to ensure adult care home residents could remain in their current homes while a sustainable placement was identified.
This week I also introduced Senate Bill 127, Customer Service, Economic Development and Transportation. This legislation will result in regional conformity for state provided services such economic development and permitting. The bill establishes the Study Commission on Regionalization Conformity (SCRC) as well as seven geographical uniform administrative regions across the state, in which agency regional offices and services will be consolidated to create a one-stop source for citizens and businesses seeking services. Agencies will be required to conduct a self-study of how their processes and programs can most efficiently and economically be aligned with those of the other entities listed. Agencies specified in this legislation include: the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Commerce/Economic Partnerships.
Next week should be busy since a bill establishing recurring funds for dredging will be heard in committee and a bill protecting our military installations from potential encroachment will be introduced. With the threat of sequestration around the corner, the preservation of military jobs is important for our State.
We are ready to assist you with any questions, ideas or concerns you might have. You may contact the office via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (919) 715-3034. If you need to contact me in the district, my number is (910) 347-3777.
Have a great weekend!