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North Carolina Legislative Report - April 15, 2016

April 15, 2016

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.

Committee Meetings

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

The Committee, and its subcommittees, met on Monday, April 4, to approve their final report for the 2016 Regular Session. The report included three legislative proposals. The first proposal would adjust the manner in which funds from the secondary unpaved road paving program are expended, ensuring more even distribution of the funds throughout the State. The second proposal would eliminate a cap placed in the 2015 Appropriations Act on State funding for light rail projects. The third proposal would address tolls and capital improvements in the State ferry system.

Legislative Research Committee - Committee on Municipal Service Districts

The Committee held its final meeting of the interim on Wednesday, April 6. After opening comments from the Chair, staff provided an overview of the draft legislative proposal. The proposal addresses the creation, expansion, reduction, consolidation and elimination of municipal service districts.  The Committee approved the proposal and will now go to the full Legislative Research Commission for approval and will be eligible for introduction in the upcoming short session.

Joint Legislative Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee

The Committee met on Thursday, April 7. First, the Committee heard presentations from Ted Abernathy on the North Carolina Chamber's report called Economic Development Strategies for Rural NC; John Loyack of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on the implementation of programs within the State's eight Prosperity Zones; and Patrick Woodie of the North Carolina Rural Center on his organization's efforts with respect to rural economic development. 

The Committee then approved two proposals. The Committee will engage Brent Lane with the UNC Center for Competitive Economies to study the State's economic development efforts. The Committee recommended legislation to form a new task force to look at economic development strategies, particularly in distressed areas. Finally, the Committee heard reports from legislative staff on various local tax options and their revenue generating capacity.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology

The Committee held its final meeting of the interim on Thursday, April 7. Staff reviewed the Committee's report for the 2016 Regular Session. The report included two legislative proposals. The first proposal sets the limit of contractor liability under State information technology procurement contracts at no more than two times the value of the contract. The second proposal designates the State CIO as the Secretary of the Department of Information Technology. Both proposals were given approval by the Committee.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services

The Committee met on Tuesday, April 12. Secretary Brajer gave some opening comments and then Jane Ann Miller, Public Health Program Consultant, Division of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention at DHHS, gave a report on the 2015 NC Suicide Prevention Plan. Dr. Randall Williams, Deputy Secretary for Health Services at DHHS, reviewed the statewide standing order for Naloxone. Dr. Courtney Cantrell, Senior Director with the Division of Mental Health, Development Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services with DHHS, gave an update on the Dorothea Dix plan and recommendations to increase availability of community-based, behavioral health treatment and services to reduce emergency department and inpatient services. Belinda Pettiford, Branch Head Division of Public Health with the Women's Health Branch with DHHS, gave an update on DHHS and Gillings School of Public Health report on process for local health departments to apply for and receive state funds on a competitive basis. Dr. Ruth Petersen, Section Chief Division of Public Health, Chronic Disease and Injury Section with DHHS, gave an update from the Diabetes Advisory Council. Deborah Landry, Committee Staff, reviewed the Statewide Early Education and Family Support Programs Subcommittee report. Susan Jacobs, Committee Staff, reviewed the draft committee report and then the Committee voted on the report.

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice

The Committee met on Tuesday, April 12. The Committee began with a detailed discussion of an audit recently completed by the State Auditor with respect to compliance with federal requirements for the Medicaid and Health Choice programs. The State Auditor presented her report, which was followed by a response from the Division of Medical Assistance. Next, the Committee heard updates from the Division of Medical Assistance with respect to enrollment in the Medicaid program and the budget forecast for the current year. Medicaid is expected to come in at least $250 million under budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The Division of Health Benefits then provided an update on its efforts and their timeline with respect to Medicaid reform. Finally, the Program Evaluation Division presented a report on their study of the timeliness of Medicaid eligibility determinations and the impact that the NC FAST system and the Affordable Care Act had on this.

House Select Committee on Achievement School Districts

The Committee met on Wednesday, April 13. Staff gave an overview of the final committee report on achievement school district pilot, which was approved after some discussion. The issue will be eligible for consideration for the 2016 Regular Session.

Environmental Review Commission

The Commission met on Wednesday, April 13 for its final meeting of the interim. Following opening remarks and the approval of minutes, Michael Scott with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), presented the agencies report on assessment and remediation activities related to pre-1983 landfills and use of proceeds from the solid waste disposal tax. Tom Reeder, DEQ Assistant Secretary for the Environment, presented the Department's reports on the study of recycling requirements for discarded computer and television equipment and its report on declaration of capacity use areas by the Environmental Management Commission.

Following the reports from DEQ, there was a discussion on acceptable piping materials used in water, wastewater and stormwater drainage projects. Presenters included Michael Power (American Chemistry Council), D'Lane Wisner (Consultant), Lorrie Critchfield (National Pipe), Rob Ferguson (TEKNOR APEX) and Charles Laws (Silver-Line Plastics). Dr. Lawrence Band, Director of the UNC Institute of the Environment, gave a report on the work of the Institute.

The last portion of the meeting was dedicated to the consideration of legislative proposals for the 2016 short session. These proposals addressed the elimination and consolidation of reports to the ERC, prohibition on certain stormwater control measures, issuance of advisories/drinking water standards, solid waste amendments, and flame retardants. Included were directions to DEQ to study riparian buffers for intermittent streams, nutrient management systems, comment to Corps on stream mitigation and intrabasin transfers. The Commission also directed DOT to study SEPA reform impacts. The Commission adjourned after approval of the minutes and adoption of the report.

In The News

Legislative Calendar

Mon, April 18, 2016

1:00 PM

Blue   Ribbon Commission to Study the Building and Infrastructure Needs of the State   (2013)

 643 LOB


Tue, April 19, 2016

10:30 AM

Rep. Duane Hall - Press Conference

 Press Room LB

1:00 PM

Select   Committee on Step Therapy (House)

 544 LOB

1:00 PM

North   Carolina General Statutes Commission, Trust Drafting Committee

Room 5054, UNC School of Law, 160 Ridge Road

2:00 PM

Committee   on Access to Public Lands (LRC)(2015)

 643 LOB


Wed, April 20, 2016

2:00 PM

Appropriations,   Education -- CANCELLED (House)

 415 LOB

2:00 PM

Select   Committee on Wildlife Resources (House)

 544 LOB

2:00 PM

Select   Committee on Education Strategy and Practices -- CORRECTED (House)

 643 LOB


Thu, April 21, 2016

9:30 AM

Select   Committee on Education Strategy and Practices (House)

 643 LOB

1:00 PM

Joint   Legislative Workforce Development System Reform Oversight Committee

 544 LOB


Mon, April 25, 2016

10:00 AM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government

 544 LOB

4:00 PM

Joint   Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government -- CORRECTED

 544 LOB

7:00 PM

Session Convenes (House)

 House

7:00 PM

Session Convenes (Senate)

 Senate


Wed, April 27, 2016

8:30 AM

Appropriations (House)

 643 LOB


Tue, May 10, 2016

11:00 AM

Senator Smith Ingram Press Conference

 Press Room LB

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