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North Carolina Legislative Report - March 4, 2016

March 4, 2016

The General Assembly convened for the 2015 legislative long session on January 14 and adjourned September 30. Lawmakers will return to Raleigh for the short session April 25, 2016. The MVA Public Affairs Legislative Report on North Carolina will be distributed on a bi-weekly basis during the interim to keep you up to date on the latest legislative issues facing the state.

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Committees

House Select Committee on Education Strategy and Practices

The Committee held its second meeting of the interim over February 24 and 25. The meeting began with the continuation of a discussion on principle compensation scheduled from the January meeting. This was followed by a discussion on early childhood education and included an overview of the current North Carolina early learning programs, the Southern Regional Educations Board’s annual report, Tennessee voluntary pre-kindergarten effectiveness study and an overview of the NC Department of Health and Human Services Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program. Cindy Watkins, President of the NC Partnership for Children discussed Smart Start and its impact on early childhood education. Day one came to a close with a panel discussion between all of the presenters from the day’s meeting.

Day two started with discussion of principle leadership. Members heard from Betty Fry with the Southern Regional Education Board, several turnaround principles, Dr. Steve Tozer from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and Dr. Shirley Prince from the NC Alliance for School Leadership Development. The meeting closed with a discussion of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Committee will hold its next meeting the last week of March.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services – Joint Justice and Public Safety and Behavioral Health Subcommittee

The Subcommittee met on Thursday, February 25. Joyce Jones with the Bill Drafting Division reviewed the Subcommittee charge. The first portion of the presentation focused on the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Representative Susan Martin (R-Wilson), Chief Justice Martin and Secretary Brajer gave introductory comments regarding the task force and work completed to date. Dr. John Santopietro, Chief Clinical Officer of Behavior Health for Carolinas HealthCare System, gave the Committee an update on the Work Group on Adults. William Lassiter, Deputy Commissioner of Juvenile Justice with the NC Department of Public Safety, gave the Committee an update on the Work Group on Children, Youth and Family. Kurtis Taylor, Executive Director for the Oxford Houses of NC, gave the Committee an update on the Work Group on Opioid and Heroin Resurgence. The next portion of the meeting focused on VIVITROL as a substance abuse treatment option and Dr. Lori Penatzer, National Director Medical Science Addiction for Alkermes, gave a presentation on this issue. Finally, the Committee reviewed the draft joint subcommittee report.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice

The Committee met on Tuesday, March 1. The meeting began with a presentation on Medicaid enrollment figures for this year. To date, the number of beneficiaries under the Medicaid program has been below estimates generated last year and more conservative budget figures. This presentation led to a separate presentation on the Medicaid budget outlook for the current fiscal year. Due to lower than budgeted enrollment figures, lower than anticipated utilization rates, and lower than estimated costs per beneficiary, expenses in the program are running below budgeted amounts. As of January, program expenses were about $185 million below the budget forecast. The Department now estimates that expenses for the 2015-16 fiscal year will be $250 million to $300 million below the budgeted amount. Next, the Committee heard a presentation from several officials with the Department about the Agency’s activities with respect to Medicaid reform efforts and received a copy of the Department’s Section 1115 draft waiver application. Finally, the Committee heard from the Department of Insurance with respect to recommended statute changes to ensure the solvency of prepaid health plans, which are an important feature of Medicaid reform.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on IT

The Committee met on Thursday, March 3. The first portion of the meeting focused on contracts, insurance and liability issues. Ben Poplin with the Department of Insurance gave a report on data security. Legislative Drafting Division staff reviewed online resources and standard contracts. The next meeting topic focused on procurement. Eric Ellis, iCenter Director, gave a presentation on the Innovation Center. Susan Sitze with the Legislative Analysis Division then gave a presentation on state data security laws and government data breaches. Lastly, Maria Thompson, State Chief Risk Officer, gave a presentation on cyber security best practices and data loss prevention.

Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee

The Committee held its third meeting of the interim on Friday, March 4. Marci Wright with DOT began the meeting with an overview of the Equal Opportunity and Workforce Services (EOWES). Bobby Walston with the Division of Aviation presented the recommendations from the Aviation Capital Investment & Aviation Development Task Force. Recommendations included increased funding, education and economic development partnerships and the creation of an Aviation Commission. Scott Saylor, President of the NC Railroad Company, presented the company’s annual report highlighting the economic impact the railroad has across the state. Mike Holder from DOT updated the Committee on streamlining right-of-way acquisitions and Utility Relocations. Finally, representatives from DOT reviewed the Departments proposals for statutory changes in the upcoming short session. The Committee will hold its final meeting of the interim on April 8th at 9:00 a.m.

In The News

Associated press:  Medicaid leaders aim for incentives, flexibility in overhaul

Greensboro News and Record: It's official: Blust announces congressional bid for District 13

Greensboro News and Record: Crowded house: Three more legislators express interest in 13th District

Raleigh News & Observer: New NC congressional maps challenged in federal court

Raleigh News & Observer: Politicians spar over new NC sales tax on services

Calendar

Mon, March 07, 2016

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Select   Committee on Strategic Transportation Planning and Long Term Funding   Solutions, Subcommittee on Joint Primary System and Secondary System (House)

                                                                       544 LOB

11:00 AM - 12:00 NOON

Select   Committee on Strategic Transportation Planning and Long Term Funding   Solutions, Subcommittee on PublicTransportation/Aviation (House)

      544 LOB

12:00 NOON - 1:00 PM

Select   Committee on Strategic Transportation Planning and Long Term Funding   Solutions, Subcommittee on Ports/Rail (House)

      544 LOB

1:00 PM

Joint   Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee, Subcommittee on Economic   Development

      415 LOB

2:00 PM

Select   Committee on Strategic Transportation Planning and Long Term Funding   Solutions (House)

      544 LOB


Tue, March 08, 2016

8:30 AM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services

      643 LOB

9:30 AM

Revenue   Laws Study Committee

      544 LOB

1:00 PM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic   Resources

MARBIONC Building   Conference Room, Wilmington, NC


Wed, March 09, 2016

9:00 AM

Environmental   Review Commission

      643 LOB

10:00 AM

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety, Subcommittee on Indigent Defense Services and the Innocence Inquiry Commission

      1228/1327 LB

10:00 AM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety, Subcommittee on   Probation/Parole Vehicles

414 LOB

1:00 PM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety, Subcommittee on   Body-Worn Cameras

423 LOB

1:00 PM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on Capital Improvements

      544 LOB

1:00 PM

Committee   on Municipal Service Districts (LRC)(2015)

      643 LOB

3:00 PM

Committee   on Barriers to Small Business Access to Credit and Capital (LRC)(2015)

1027/1128 LB


Thu, March 10, 2016

9:30 AM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on the North Carolina State Lottery

      643 LOB

10:00 AM

Agriculture   and Forestry Awareness Study Commission

Kannapolis City Hall,   Kannapolis, NC

11:00 AM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety, Subcommittee on   IDS Fees

414 LOB

1:00 PM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety

      643 LOB


Mon, March 14, 2016

9:00 AM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government

      544 LOB

1:00 PM

Joint   Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee

      544 LOB


Wed, March 16, 2016

2:00 PM

Select   Committee on Wildlife Resources (House)

      544 LOB


Thu, March 17, 2016

10:00 AM

North   Carolina Courts Commission

      643 LOB

1:00 PM

Joint   Legislative Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee

      643 LOB


Wed, March 23, 2016

1:00 PM

Select   Committee on Step Therapy (House)

      544 LOB


Mon, April 25, 2016

7:00 PM

Session   Convenes (House)

      House

7:00 PM

Session   Convenes (Senate)

      Senate

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