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News & Press: Updates for Members

Legislative Update: HB 70 on the floor!

Monday, March 25, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Monday, March 25, 2019
Kay Castillo, BSW, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation; Registered Lobbyist

North Carolina legislators continue to work to file bills before the April 16th deadline. Additionally, Appropriation Committees continue to meet to hear from various state Departments on their priorities and issues ahead of legislators introducing their state budget proposals (we will likely see their budget in June). The budget is always of importance to social workers as state legislators direct funding for programs that social workers work in or where our patients and families are served- Departments of Social Services, public health, schools, state employee pay raises, etc.

Legislators passed House Bill 295 Prohibit Corporal Punishment in Public Schools last week in the House Education Committee. The bill will be heard in the House Rules Committee today before making its way to the floor. Last year, the final school district to use corporal punishment banned this act. This meant all 115 public school districts voted to end the use of corporal punishment- a huge victory! This legislation would require this ban to be statewide and help ensure school districts don't bring it back in the future as punishment. NASW-NC has worked in partnership with NC Child to help ban this practice.

Lastly, House Bill 70 Delay NC HealthConnex for Certain Providers, will be heard on the House floor on Wednesday, March 27th! If you have not already, please contact your North Carolina House Representative and let them know how important this bill is to social workers! This legislation has been a priority for NASW-NC as we lobbied to get the bill introduced. The bill changed from it's original request to delay connection until June 2021. Now the bill will:

  • Extend the deadline for most providers to connect to the HIE through June 1, 2020. This means social workers would have a one year delay to connect.
  • Extend the connection deadline for psychiatrists until June 1, 2021.
  • Allow all providers to request an extension deadline of June 1, 2021. The current extension deadline is June 1, 2020.
  • Allow the Department of Health and Human Services to permanently exempt providers from connecting to the HIE. Exemptions may be granted if: the provider is impending retirement or closure; the provider lacks access to affordable or sufficient broadband capacity; the provider cannot affordably acquire health information technology options, and whether excluding the provider from Medicaid would result in a lack of access to care for Medicaid recipients.

Bills of Interest to Social Workers Filed

  • HB 393 Modernizing Sexual Assault Laws: This legislation amends the definition of mentally incapacitated to include for an assault victim who drank alcohol voluntarily; allows DSS to take action when they suspect a child is being abused by a romantic partner of his or her parent or guardian; and makes drugging someone's drink illegal even if the victim is not assaulted.
  • SB 294 Make General Election Day a State Holiday: This legislation would make General Election day a statewide, paid holiday.
  • SB 300 Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors: This legislation changes the name of Licensed Professional Counselor to Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors (LCMHC). It also establishes a program under their licensing board for LCMHCs who are experiencing burnout, substance misuse, compassion fatigue, or other mental health concerns. The Board may also enter into reciprocity agreements with other states for licensure as a clinical mental health counselor.
  • SB 337 Rethinking Guardianship: This legislation establishes a Rethinking Guardianship Workgroup to study and recommend changes to guardianship laws. Included in the taskforce members shall be a faculty member from UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work. A report from the workgroup's findings will be given to legislators by January 1, 2020.
  • HB 439 Reduce TASC Caseloads/Funds: Appropriates $4,030,000 to reduce the caseload of the Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities Program. This funding would be for two years and would reduce the caseload to 50 offender-clients per care manager and provide clinical supervision, oversight, and training for care managers.
  • HB 440 Study/Regional Behavioral Health Centers: Appropriates $180,000 to Partners Behavioral Health Management to establish a regional behavioral health crisis center.

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