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News & Press: Updates for Members

NASW-NC Legislative Update: 2 Bills Moving Quickly! Action Needed!

Monday, April 15, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Monday, April 15, 2019
Kay Castillo, BSW, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation; Registered Lobbyist

Last week was an extremely busy week for North Carolina legislators. Many bills are moving quickly through the House and the Senate as the deadlines for bill filing and crossover approach. Any bill that does not make crossover (meaning it has not passed the House OR the Senate) will be considered dead for the rest of the legislative session. We have two action alerts for social workers! Please take action on BOTH bills TODAY!

Senate Bill 359: Born Alive Survivors Protection Act
The Senate plans to address Senate Bill 359 Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act TODAY. This bill is an extreme anti-abortion bill written by politicians, not doctors, that has no basis in medicine or science. The sole purpose of this bill is to intimidate patients and criminalize doctors and healthcare practitioners.

Click here to send a message to your Senator and plan to come pack the North Carolina Senate gallery Monday, 4/15, at 2:00 pm. The Senate will be voting on the extreme anti-abortion bill S359--come fight for reproductive rights and abortion access!

MONDAY, APRIL 15th, 2pm
North Carolina General Assembly, 16 W. Jones Street, Raleigh

Don't think a bill like this will pass in North Carolina? A BILL BANNING MOST ABORTIONS BECAME LAW IN OHIO LAST WEEK!


Senate Bill 375: Death by Distribution
Senate Bill 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. This bill was heard in committee last week and amended. However, the amendments did not address concerns from advocates. Please contact your Senator and urge them to vote AGAINST.

Click here to find your North Carolina Senator.

Sample language to use when contacting your Senator:
Death by Distribution charges are used to prosecute people for murder if they deliver a drug to someone who later overdoses and dies. Like you, I want to stop overdose deaths and hold drug dealers accountable. But this bill has unintended consequences that could lead to more overdose deaths and less accountability for drug dealers.

More Overdose Deaths. This bill will hurt our 911 Good Samaritan law. People already afraid to report an overdose for fear of prosecution for a low-level drug charge will be exponentially more afraid to call if they fear a murder charge. The Samaritan Protection amendment/PCS added to the bill Wednesday DOES NOT resolve this concern.

Less Accountability for Drug Dealers. This bill specifically targets the person who "delivered" the drug to the overdose victim. This person is usually a friend or family member, NOT a drug dealer.

In fact, drug dealers could use the S375 language "The person unlawfully sells and delivers at least one certain controlled substance to the victim" as a defense against homicide charges, since they could argue that they merely sold the drug to the friend or family member, who then delivered it to the overdose victim.

In other states with Death by Distribution laws, the majority of people prosecuted have been friends and family of the deceased, not drug dealers.

Please vote AGAINST S375: Death by Distribution. We want to save lives and hold dealers accountable. S375 does neither.

Bills of Interest

HB 655 NC Health Care for Working Families. This legislation is the House's plan for Medicaid Expansion. However, the bill does not expand Medicaid as passed under the Affordable Care Act. The bill would require premiums of two percent of a participant's household income. The state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is to adopt premium requirements including exemptions such as medical and financial hardships or for veterans in transition but seeking employment. The bill would also establish work requirements with exemptions for disability, caregivers, etc; also having these rules adopted by DHHS. The legislation also outlines that if federal funds, participant contributions, and state and county funds do not sufficiently fund this new program, that the state shall not move forward with the program. Lastly, the bill does include funding for rural health grants that would provide grants to address issues in rural communities such as access to mental health services, telehealth, infant mortality reduction efforts, and more. The NASW-NC Legislative Committee met on Friday and decided to spend more time developing our position on the bill.

HB 696 NC Families First Act: Introduced by social workers and Representatives Meyer and Black, this legislation would offer 12 weeks of paid leave for either parent after the birth or adoption of a child, 18 weeks of paid leave for an individual with an illness or someone in the family, and 26 weeks for the care of an injured military member.

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. Click here to join today!

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