North Carolina Legislative Report - November 20, 2015
November 20, 2015
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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Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations
The Commission met for over seven hours on Wednesday, November 18, covering a wide variety of topics. The Commission addressed each of the following issues:
- Office of State Human Resources Internal Financial Accounting Controls. Members of the Commission questioned officials from the Office of State Human Resources about internal financial controls in the wake of news reports that a former employee had embezzled nearly $250,000 from the NC Flex program. The Commission called for an investigative audit of the state worker flexible insurance program by the State Auditor.
- Local Management Entity – Managed Care Organization (LME/MCO) Merger Process. Legislators questioned the Medicaid Director on a decision to delay mergers between local entities responsible for providing behavioral health services under the Medicaid program. The legislature had previously directed that the number of entities providing these services statewide be reduced. The Medicaid Director stated that the agency had decided to delay some of the mergers due to concerns about other changes occurring in the Medicaid program. Legislators expressed concern that proposed mergers that had been unanimously approved by the applicable parties were now being delayed.
- Health Information Exchange Implementation Update. Joe Cooper, Chief Information Officer, Department of Health and Human Services, provided legislators with an update on efforts with respect to the Health Information Exchange, an effort to connect hospitals and providers throughout the State to provide for easier sharing of health records and information.
- Compliance with Low-Performing School Standards and Employee Retirement Benefits. Legislators questioned officials with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools about their actions with respect to low-performing public schools. The district had questioned the standards used in determining whether schools were low-performing and had failed to meet some of the requirements with respect to those schools. In addition, legislators questioned officials with the district about leave policies that allow educators to continue to earn retirement service credit while on leave working with another organization – in this case, the North Carolina Association of Educators.
- UNC Board of Governors, Compliance with Open Meetings Law. Legislators had numerous questions for officials with the UNC Board of Governors about recent actions taken with respect to hiring a new system President and increases in compensation for university chancellors. Specifically at issue was an October 30 closed meeting at which substantial compensation increases were approved for numerous officials.
- Private Prison Maintenance. Members of the Commission questioned Frank Perry, Secretary of Public Safety, and Lee Roberts, Director of the Office of State Budget and Management, about actions with respect to an extension of a contract for private prison maintenance. The legislators’ questions addressed not only the substance of the contract extension, but also concerns about comments allegedly made by the private contractor regarding past political contributions.
- Syrian Refugees. Legislators heard from representatives of the Governor’s Office about his request to the federal government to pause the settlement of Syrian refugees in the State until such time as the federal government could provide assurances that adequate and proper screenings of refugees had been completed. The request came in response to concerns about a potential terrorist threat in light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France. The Commission adopted a motion in support of the Governor’s request.
- Consultations. Finally, the Commission received reports and consultations from the Executive Branch as required by State law.
In The News
Charlotte Business Journal: DiMicco named to N.C. Business Hall of Fame
Charlotte Observer: I-485 toll lane contract set for July 2016
Charlotte Observer: PayPal: We’re looking at Charlotte for East Coast operations center
Associated Press: North Carolina Democrats name 3 for presidential primary
Raleigh News & Observer: Wake County school board protests NC law by abstaining on vote
Charlotte Observer: CMS enrollment growth falls short of projection, hits 6-year low
Raleigh News & Observer: Politicians react to Syria refugee resettlements in NC
Mon, November 23, 2015