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News & Press: Updates for Members

February Advocacy Update: SW Licensure Bill, New Elections, DSS Reorganization

Friday, March 1, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Social Work Licensure Bill Filed

On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, a bill was filled in the North Carolina House of Representatives to update the North Carolina Certification and Licensure Act (Chapter 90B), which is the law that regulates social work certification and licensure in the state of North Carolina.

NASW-NC has been working with legislators to introduce this legislation to make necessary changes to Chapter 90B in order to remain in compliance with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the entity that designs and implements the qualifying national social work examinations for the North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board (Licensure Board). NASW-NC has also been working with the Licensure Board for the last year and has come to an agreement on necessary changes to be introduced during the 2019 Legislation Session.

House Bill 203 is sponsored by Representatives Sydney Batch, MaryAnn Black, Graig Meyer and Donna White (Batch, Black and Meyer are all social workers who hold their MSW degree).

Take action: Send a letter to your legislator asking them to support House Bill 203!


North Carolina Superior Court Judge Throws Out Two Constitutional Amendments

Last Friday, Judge G. Bryan Collins of the Wake County Superior Court threw out two constitutional amendments that were voted on during the November 2018 elections. The two amendments are the Voter ID requirement and the amendment to cap the state income tax. Collins justified his ruling by stating NC districts are so gerrymandered that election results were not truly representative. Judge Collins explains further in his brief, “An illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution.”

 

NASW-NC formally recommended voting against all six amendments due to concerns that may affect social workers and clients.

 

The ruling on these two amendments is a positive step forward in the ongoing effort to protect all North Carolinian’s overall wellbeing.

 

Following the ruling, Republican leaders appealed the decision so more will considered before the Judge’s ruling to throw them out can be finalized.


About the two amendments

Previous attempts to enact voter ID laws have been continuously struck down, including by the United States Supreme Court in 2017, which ruled it was intentionally designed to stop African Americans from voting.

 

Currently, the state income tax is capped at 10%. Income taxes help fund vital functions of the state including, health and human services, public schools, public safety, roads, and bridges. Social workers know, these services are essential to building strong and healthy communities. Cuts to income tax mostly benefit the wealthy and, to make up for the budget shortfall, there could be an increase in property and sales taxes, which disproportionately impacts working class and low-income individuals.


State Board of Elections Unanimously Calls for New Election in 9th Congressional District

In what might be the first recorded instance of a federal election being thrown out over fraud, the State Board of Election called for a new election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Decisions on a new election date will be announced soon.

 

Suspected voter fraud in the 9th district has been investigated for months, leaving North Carolina down one congress member (now two after the death of Walter Jones).  Republican Mark Harris narrowly won out over Dan McCready last fall, but suspicion of illegal tampering of absentee ballots by the Harris Campaign led to a lengthy investigation.

 

The Harris campaign hired Leslie McCrae Dowless to help with absentee ballot work. It was believed that he had broken the law in a previous election related to absentee ballot collection. Dowless was arrested on Wednesday on related charges of fraud.

 

Throughout his hearing, it became clear that Mark Harris might have been lying under oath, which his lawyer was required to report the board. Harris then came back to correct his testimony. It was explained that a previous infection and medication taken after that might have affected his memory. 

 

This series of events led the five-member election board, consisting of three Democrats and two Republicans to call for a new election in the 9th congressional district.

 

Who will run? Siting health concerns, Mark Harris will not run but his opponent,
Dan McCready, will run again. Harris has endorsed Stony Rushing, a Union County Commissioner, in the race. Several other candidates will announce their plans to run in the coming days.   

 

North Carolina’s Third Congressional District Election Announced

Following the death of Congressman Walter Jones, Governor Cooper announced that the election in the third congressional district will be held on July 9th. Candidates seeking to run will file notices of candidacy between March 4th and March 8th.

Should a primary runoff occur on July 9th, a special election will take place on September 10th.

 

DSS Reorganization: Final Report

In 2017, legislators created a working group to study how to best reform Department of Social Services in our state and provide better support to counties. NASW-NC was consulted and recommended several task force members. Further, NASW-NC provided input to the committee: NASW-NC makes comments on Proposed Social Services Regional Maps

The UNC School of Government oversaw the committee and compiled resources from all meetings including recording, minutes, and other material used. Click here to view the work being done by the committee.

On February 20th, the Social Services Working Group sent their final report to legislators. Among the biggest news, the Group did NOT recommend a legislative mandate for DSS’s to regionalize. However, some counties may volunteer to do so at their own will. Read more about the report from the
i2i Center for Integrative Health. 


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