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North Carolina Legislative Report - September 19, 2014

September 6 - 19, 2014

The General Assembly adjourned “sine die” on Wednesday, August 20.  During the interim, the MVA Public Affairs Legislative Report on North Carolina will be distributed biweekly to keep you up to date on the latest legislative issues facing the state.

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MVA Public Affairs Blog

Want to be sure you’re up to speed?  Check out MVA tax attorney Canaan Huie’s most recent post on tax loopholes, The Eye of the Beholder, on the MVA Public Affairs blog.

Governor's Desk

Governor McCrory recently signed three bills and let another become law without his signature. SB 3 modifies the state’s JMAC Fund, HB 396 makes changes to North Carolina’s criminal code and makes it a felony to pass a cell phone to a prisoner, and SB 734 makes a variety of regulatory changes such as protecting wetlands.

McCrory passed on the opportunity to sign HB 1086, which establishes a rail pact between the Carolinas; it will become law without his signature.

Committee Reports

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services met on Tuesday, September 9.  A substantial portion of the meeting involved presentations from the Department of Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services on the State contracting process in general and the specific steps taken by DHHS with respect to operational and consulting contracts it had entered into with respect to the State Medicaid program.  In particular, members of the Committee questioned the reasons for a sole-source contract with Alvarez & Marsal, the amounts expended under the contract, and whether there were viable alternatives to a sole-source contract.  Secretary Wos also presented on restructuring initiatives undertaken by the Department and continuing challenges that the Department faces with recruiting and retaining qualified personnel.  After a lunch break, the Committee heard presentations about the Department’s budget close-out from the 2013-14 fiscal year (the Department reverted $104 million  in cash at the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, including $63 million from Medicaid) and about ongoing issues with the Medicaid budget going forward.  Next, the Department presented on the history and status of the implementation of the NC FAST computer system.  Finally, Speros Fleggas with the Department of Administration gave a brief update on ongoing negotiations between the State and the City of Raleigh with respect to the sale or lease of land associated with the Dix Hospital campus.

Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee

The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee met on Wednesday, September 17.  The first part of the meeting was dominated by a presentation from the State Auditor about a report her office released in April 2014 with respect to the Physicians Health Program.  The Physicians Health Program is a program administered by the Medical Board and the Medical Society to ensure that physicians with substance abuse or mental health issues receive proper treatment.  Although the State Auditor did not find any instances of abuse in the program, the report highlighted a number of areas of concern where abuse could occur because of a lack of oversight, a lack of impartial due process procedures, and potential conflicts of interests.  Based on the report, the Program has agreed to make changes.  The State Auditor and officials with the Medical Board and Physicians Health Program answered numerous questions about the Program, its structure, its goals, and its impact on health care providers and the quality of health care in the State.  The Committee next considered some changes to the Program Evaluation Division’s work plan over the next biennium.  Concerns were raised by Committee members as to whether additions to the work plan would unnecessarily duplicate the efforts of other study committees.  After a great deal of discussion, the work plan was amended so that the Division would work in conjunction with other committees on studies dealing with the Physicians Health Program (and a similar program under the direction of the Dental Board), the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and alcohol and substance abuse education and prevention funding.  Finally, Secretary Wos of the Department of Health and Human Services addressed the Committee with respect to a report released by the Division in 2013 about possible alternative structures for the State Medicaid Program.  The Secretary reiterated her strong belief that the State Medicaid program should remain under the Department of Health and Human Services and that changes made with respect to DHHS over the past two years would provide more appropriate oversight for the program and would ensure more accurate forecasts on Program costs.

In the News

The Associated Press: McCrory signs 2 more bills, another becomes law

McClatchy: Boom! Oil-exploring seismic blasts could soon disrupt whale territory

Raleigh News & Observer: McCrory wants to borrow $1 billion for rural NC transportation projects

The Associated Press: DHHS reviews options for Medicaid expansion

Greensboro News & Record: McCrory explains opposition to coal ash, other state panels

The Associated Press: 3 N. Carolina hospital chains partner to cut costs

Raleigh News & Observer: Coal ash petitions demand quicker cleanup

Fayetteville Observer: Company building natural gas pipeline through North Carolina to hold public meetings next week

Raleigh News & Observer: First Common Core review meeting set

Asheville Citizen Times: Coal ash issue raises doubts about future of Duke plant

Charlotte Observer: Sen. Burr planning for re-election bid in 2016

The Associated Press: Report: NC among states most tied to income tax

The Associated Press: McCrory says he won't call NC special session

Charlotte Observer: Electrolux CEO: Charlotte to remain headquarters after GE deal

Calendar

Tue, September 23, 2014

10:00 AM 

North Carolina Courts Commission

643 LOB


Wed, September 24, 2014

9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, Medicaid Reform/DMA Reorganization Subcommittee

643 LOB


Mon, September 29, 2014

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, Medical Examiner Subcommittee

643 LOB


Mon, October 06, 2014

9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, Medicaid Reform/DMA Reorganization Subcommittee

643 LOB


Tue, October 07, 2014

10:00 AM

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee

643 LOB


Wed, October 08, 2014

2:00 PM

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance

544 LOB


Tue, October 14, 2014

9:00 AM

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services

643 LOB

9:30 AM

Revenue Laws Study Committee -- CORRECTED

544 LOB


Mon, October 20, 2014

9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, Medicaid Reform/DMA Reorganization Subcommittee

643 LOB


Wed, October 22, 2014

1:00 PM

House Study Committee on Education Innovation (2013)

643 LOB


Wed, November 12, 2014

9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, Medicaid Reform/DMA Reorganization Subcommittee

643 LOB

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For more information or to be added to our distribution list, please feel free to contact our North Carolina Legislative team.