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News & Press: Updates for Members

Legislative Update: HB 70 and Ban Conversion Therapy

Monday, April 1, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Kay Castillo, BSW, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation; Registered Lobbyist

House Bill 70 Delay NC HealthConnex for Certain Providers has been priority legislation for NASW-NC this legislative session. We are THRILLED to let you know that the bill passed the North Carolina House of Representatives last Wednesday with a unanimous vote of 110-0! Now the bill must be taken up in the Senate before it can become law. Watch for action alerts and more from NASW-NC as we will need your social work voice to help advance this legislation through the Senate!

As a reminder, House Bill 70 will:

  • Extend the deadline for most providers to connect to the state’s Health Information Exchange Authority (HIEA) through June 1, 2020. This means social workers would receive 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 HIEA. 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.

Additionally, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed House Bill 295 Prohibit Corporal Punishment in Public Schools. The bill now goes to the Senate. 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.

Last week also brought a victory outside of the North Carolina General Assembly in that a federal district court struck down North Carolina’s restrictive 20-week abortion ban. The decision will not take affect for sixty days and will likely be challenged before it’s put into place. Read more about this decision from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Bills of Interest to Social Workers Filed

Three bills were introduced on Thursday supporting pro LGBTQ policies:

  • SUPPORT HB 514 Equality for All, updates our nondiscrimination laws in housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, insurance, and jury service.
  •  SUPPORT HB 515 Full Repeal of HB 2, this is a clean repeal of House Bill 2 which passed in 2016. House Bill 2 preempted local anti-discrimination ordinances and required public facilities and schools to discriminate against individuals who are transgender by limiting which restroom one can used based on the gender assigned on their birth certificate.
  • SUPPORT HB 516/SB 426 Mental Health Protection Act which bans conversion therapy for minors and disabled adults. This legislation supports the NASW-NC Legislative Agenda. See NASW-NC’s Press Release about the legislation and this WRAL article mentioning NASW-NC’s support. NASW-NC has been working with Equality NC to help advance this issue. In conjunction with the legislation, NASW-NC launched a resource page for social workers!

SUPPORT HB 460 Fair Chance Hiring: This legislation would require state agencies to adjust hiring practices when working with an applicant with a criminal justice involved background to help reduce barriers to hiring. Considerations would be made based on the type of offense, when the offense occurred, whether the position would be impacted by the offense, and any type of rehabilitative work the applicant worked through. 

Oppose HB 474/SB 375 Death by Distribution: This legislation would create an offense of death by distribution of certain controlled substances and aggravated death by distribution of drugs such as opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, or a mixture of substances. It has the potential to override North Carolina’s Good Samaritan Law.

Upcoming Advocacy Days

Do you enjoy these updates? NASW-NC membership makes them possible!

NASW-NC works on behalf of the social work profession on a variety of issues. It is a member benefit provided by NASW-NC to have a registered lobbyist advancing and supporting the profession of social work in North Carolina. The North Carolina Chapter works with National NASW on Federal issues such as reimbursement rates, immigration, student loans, and more. Your membership dues help support our advocacy efforts everyday on the state and federal levels. Thank YOU for being a member and staying engaged in supporting the social work profession. 

We need you. If you are a social worker and not a member of your professional association we ask that you to join to support the advocacy efforts on behalf of your profession.
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