COVID


Education Policy

  • On Friday Governor Cooper vetoed SB 37, a bill that would require school districts to provide in-person instruction, citing its incompatibility with federal and state COVID-19 safety guidelines. The General Assembly is preparing to vote to override Cooper’s veto. While most school districts in the state already offer some in-person instruction, those that have stayed remote-only -- such as Durham Public Schools -- would have to reopen 15 days from the bill’s passage.

Economic and Housing Policy

  • On Thursday the House Finance Committee cleared HB 107. The bill, which would make various changes to the state unemployment system, includes provisions to fix the unemployment tax rate for employers at 1.9% rather than raising it according to existing state law and to reinstate work-search requirements for those claiming non-COVID-19-related unemployment. North Carolina’s unemployment tax rate for employers is currently the fourth lowest in the country.


  • On Thursday HB 76 passed the House Finance Committee unanimously. The bill would close a loophole that allows out-of-state debt settlement companies to operate in North Carolina, where predatory debt settlement is already prohibited. Though the bill already passed the House last year, lobbying efforts by debt settlement companies stopped it from passing the Senate. The bill has bipartisan support.


Health Care Policy

  • On Tuesday Wake County Superior Court Judge Michael O’Foghluda ruled against a group of North Carolina hospitals that had sued the NC DHHS over their awarding of Managed Care Organization (MCO) contracts during the Medicaid transformation process. The group of hospitals, called My Health by My Providers, had argued that the original legislative vision would have awarded MCO contracts to providers like those in their group, including Duke Health and UNC Health Care, instead of large national insurance companies. A spokesperson indicated Tuesday that the group is still considering appealing the ruling.


  • On Tuesday HB 91, a bill that would expand access to treatment for people with autism, passed the House Health Committee unanimously. The bill would allow applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapists, who currently must be supervised by a specialized psychologist, to be licensed to practice independently. North Carolina, the only state that requires such supervision, only has 62 such specialized psychologists, severely limiting access to behavioral therapy for autism within the state. The bill has significant bipartisan support.


Gun Violence Prevention


  • On Wednesday HB 48 cleared the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would allow paramedics to carry concealed weapons when they embed with SWAT teams or work with law enforcement in emergency situations. The bill will likely appear before the full House this week.


Criminal Justice


COVID-19


Governance

  • Republican legislative leaders have eliminated the NC legislature’s nonpartisan Program Evaluation Division, a research and advisory unit tasked with evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of public programs. The Division, created in 2007 with unanimous support from the General Assembly, has saved the state some $38.6 million annually. It will be replaced by partisan staff tasked with a similar mandate. While Republican leaders assert the move will improve efficiency, both Democrats and some former Republican representatives have expressed disagreement with the decision.


Fair Representation


Education Policy

  • SB 37, which requires NC K-12 public school districts to provide the option of in-person learning to all students, received final approval with bipartisan support in both legislative chambers and has been sent to the governor. Under the bill, special-needs students must have the option of full-time in-class instruction, but it retains a provision allowing all families to opt for online-only classes and gives local school districts the leeway to create alternative work assignments for teachers at high risk for COVID-19. Gov. Cooper has expressed reservations about mandating reopening, preferring to give school districts more discretion.. However, the bill passed with enough votes to override a veto.

  • Lawmakers have begun refining the details of a bill (HB 82) that would provide non-compulsory, in-person summer school to students in state public schools. The program would target students who are academically “at risk,” and according to the state Dept. of Public Instruction, the proportion of these students across the state has grown from 40 to 60 percent during the pandemic. It is expected that the cost of the program would be covered by federal pandemic relief money the state doled out to school districts last week.


Economic Policy


Health Care Policy

  • The NC Office of the State Auditor identified overpayments of $13.4 million in Medicaid reimbursements to health care providers ineligible because they had lost their licenses, lacked credentials or had other problems. Moreover, the audit identified significantly more than that amount in potential overpayments. State Auditor Beth Wood, a Democrat, indicated that DHHS could have found and fixed many of the problems before the audit became public.


Criminal Justice


COVID-19

Education Policy

  • SB37, the bill that would require all North Carolina school districts to offer in-person learning options, is still being revised. After the bill passed the Senate on Tuesday and a revised version passed the House on Thursday, the Senate chose to delay a vote until Monday night so that a conference committee could negotiate changes over the weekend. Democrats have criticized the bill as unnecessary, given that most school districts already offer in-person options and the rest plan to do so soon. While Governor Cooper is encouraging school districts to reopen for in-person learning, he has not mandated it.

Economic and Housing Policy

Health Care Policy

  • On Tuesday HB61 passed its first reading and was referred to the Appropriations Committee. The bill, which has bipartisan sponsorship, would greatly increase state funding to local health departments to fight communicable diseases, from $867,000 a year to $36 million. Local funding currently accounts for $19.8 million of local health departments’ budgets for communicable disease work, and this would be supplemented, rather than replaced, by the proposed funding.

COVID


Education Policy

  • On Friday Governor Cooper vetoed SB 37, a bill that would require school districts to provide in-person instruction, citing its incompatibility with federal and state COVID-19 safety guidelines. The General Assembly is preparing to vote to override Cooper’s veto. While most school districts in the state already offer some in-person instruction, those that have stayed remote-only -- such as Durham Public Schools -- would have to reopen 15 days from the bill’s passage.

Economic and Housing Policy

  • On Thursday the House Finance Committee cleared HB 107. The bill, which would make various changes to the state unemployment system, includes provisions to fix the unemployment tax rate for employers at 1.9% rather than raising it according to existing state law and to reinstate work-search requirements for those claiming non-COVID-19-related unemployment. North Carolina’s unemployment tax rate for employers is currently the fourth lowest in the country.


  • On Thursday HB 76 passed the House Finance Committee unanimously. The bill would close a loophole that allows out-of-state debt settlement companies to operate in North Carolina, where predatory debt settlement is already prohibited. Though the bill already passed the House last year, lobbying efforts by debt settlement companies stopped it from passing the Senate. The bill has bipartisan support.


Health Care Policy

  • On Tuesday Wake County Superior Court Judge Michael O’Foghluda ruled against a group of North Carolina hospitals that had sued the NC DHHS over their awarding of Managed Care Organization (MCO) contracts during the Medicaid transformation process. The group of hospitals, called My Health by My Providers, had argued that the original legislative vision would have awarded MCO contracts to providers like those in their group, including Duke Health and UNC Health Care, instead of large national insurance companies. A spokesperson indicated Tuesday that the group is still considering appealing the ruling.


  • On Tuesday HB 91, a bill that would expand access to treatment for people with autism, passed the House Health Committee unanimously. The bill would allow applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapists, who currently must be supervised by a specialized psychologist, to be licensed to practice independently. North Carolina, the only state that requires such supervision, only has 62 such specialized psychologists, severely limiting access to behavioral therapy for autism within the state. The bill has significant bipartisan support.


Gun Violence Prevention


  • On Wednesday HB 48 cleared the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would allow paramedics to carry concealed weapons when they embed with SWAT teams or work with law enforcement in emergency situations. The bill will likely appear before the full House this week.


Criminal Justice


COVID-19


Governance

  • Republican legislative leaders have eliminated the NC legislature’s nonpartisan Program Evaluation Division, a research and advisory unit tasked with evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of public programs. The Division, created in 2007 with unanimous support from the General Assembly, has saved the state some $38.6 million annually. It will be replaced by partisan staff tasked with a similar mandate. While Republican leaders assert the move will improve efficiency, both Democrats and some former Republican representatives have expressed disagreement with the decision.


Fair Representation


Education Policy

  • SB 37, which requires NC K-12 public school districts to provide the option of in-person learning to all students, received final approval with bipartisan support in both legislative chambers and has been sent to the governor. Under the bill, special-needs students must have the option of full-time in-class instruction, but it retains a provision allowing all families to opt for online-only classes and gives local school districts the leeway to create alternative work assignments for teachers at high risk for COVID-19. Gov. Cooper has expressed reservations about mandating reopening, preferring to give school districts more discretion.. However, the bill passed with enough votes to override a veto.

  • Lawmakers have begun refining the details of a bill (HB 82) that would provide non-compulsory, in-person summer school to students in state public schools. The program would target students who are academically “at risk,” and according to the state Dept. of Public Instruction, the proportion of these students across the state has grown from 40 to 60 percent during the pandemic. It is expected that the cost of the program would be covered by federal pandemic relief money the state doled out to school districts last week.


Economic Policy


Health Care Policy

  • The NC Office of the State Auditor identified overpayments of $13.4 million in Medicaid reimbursements to health care providers ineligible because they had lost their licenses, lacked credentials or had other problems. Moreover, the audit identified significantly more than that amount in potential overpayments. State Auditor Beth Wood, a Democrat, indicated that DHHS could have found and fixed many of the problems before the audit became public.


Criminal Justice


COVID-19

Education Policy

  • SB37, the bill that would require all North Carolina school districts to offer in-person learning options, is still being revised. After the bill passed the Senate on Tuesday and a revised version passed the House on Thursday, the Senate chose to delay a vote until Monday night so that a conference committee could negotiate changes over the weekend. Democrats have criticized the bill as unnecessary, given that most school districts already offer in-person options and the rest plan to do so soon. While Governor Cooper is encouraging school districts to reopen for in-person learning, he has not mandated it.

Economic and Housing Policy

Health Care Policy

  • On Tuesday HB61 passed its first reading and was referred to the Appropriations Committee. The bill, which has bipartisan sponsorship, would greatly increase state funding to local health departments to fight communicable diseases, from $867,000 a year to $36 million. Local funding currently accounts for $19.8 million of local health departments’ budgets for communicable disease work, and this would be supplemented, rather than replaced, by the proposed funding.

COVID


Education Policy

  • On Friday Governor Cooper vetoed SB 37, a bill that would require school districts to provide in-person instruction, citing its incompatibility with federal and state COVID-19 safety guidelines. The General Assembly is preparing to vote to override Cooper’s veto. While most school districts in the state already offer some in-person instruction, those that have stayed remote-only -- such as Durham Public Schools -- would have to reopen 15 days from the bill’s passage.

Economic and Housing Policy

  • On Thursday the House Finance Committee cleared HB 107. The bill, which would make various changes to the state unemployment system, includes provisions to fix the unemployment tax rate for employers at 1.9% rather than raising it according to existing state law and to reinstate work-search requirements for those claiming non-COVID-19-related unemployment. North Carolina’s unemployment tax rate for employers is currently the fourth lowest in the country.


  • On Thursday HB 76 passed the House Finance Committee unanimously. The bill would close a loophole that allows out-of-state debt settlement companies to operate in North Carolina, where predatory debt settlement is already prohibited. Though the bill already passed the House last year, lobbying efforts by debt settlement companies stopped it from passing the Senate. The bill has bipartisan support.


Health Care Policy

  • On Tuesday Wake County Superior Court Judge Michael O’Foghluda ruled against a group of North Carolina hospitals that had sued the NC DHHS over their awarding of Managed Care Organization (MCO) contracts during the Medicaid transformation process. The group of hospitals, called My Health by My Providers, had argued that the original legislative vision would have awarded MCO contracts to providers like those in their group, including Duke Health and UNC Health Care, instead of large national insurance companies. A spokesperson indicated Tuesday that the group is still considering appealing the ruling.


  • On Tuesday HB 91, a bill that would expand access to treatment for people with autism, passed the House Health Committee unanimously. The bill would allow applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapists, who currently must be supervised by a specialized psychologist, to be licensed to practice independently. North Carolina, the only state that requires such supervision, only has 62 such specialized psychologists, severely limiting access to behavioral therapy for autism within the state. The bill has significant bipartisan support.


Gun Violence Prevention


  • On Wednesday HB 48 cleared the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would allow paramedics to carry concealed weapons when they embed with SWAT teams or work with law enforcement in emergency situations. The bill will likely appear before the full House this week.


Criminal Justice


COVID-19


Governance

  • Republican legislative leaders have eliminated the NC legislature’s nonpartisan Program Evaluation Division, a research and advisory unit tasked with evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of public programs. The Division, created in 2007 with unanimous support from the General Assembly, has saved the state some $38.6 million annually. It will be replaced by partisan staff tasked with a similar mandate. While Republican leaders assert the move will improve efficiency, both Democrats and some former Republican representatives have expressed disagreement with the decision.


Fair Representation


Education Policy

  • SB 37, which requires NC K-12 public school districts to provide the option of in-person learning to all students, received final approval with bipartisan support in both legislative chambers and has been sent to the governor. Under the bill, special-needs students must have the option of full-time in-class instruction, but it retains a provision allowing all families to opt for online-only classes and gives local school districts the leeway to create alternative work assignments for teachers at high risk for COVID-19. Gov. Cooper has expressed reservations about mandating reopening, preferring to give school districts more discretion.. However, the bill passed with enough votes to override a veto.

  • Lawmakers have begun refining the details of a bill (HB 82) that would provide non-compulsory, in-person summer school to students in state public schools. The program would target students who are academically “at risk,” and according to the state Dept. of Public Instruction, the proportion of these students across the state has grown from 40 to 60 percent during the pandemic. It is expected that the cost of the program would be covered by federal pandemic relief money the state doled out to school districts last week.


Economic Policy


Health Care Policy

  • The NC Office of the State Auditor identified overpayments of $13.4 million in Medicaid reimbursements to health care providers ineligible because they had lost their licenses, lacked credentials or had other problems. Moreover, the audit identified significantly more than that amount in potential overpayments. State Auditor Beth Wood, a Democrat, indicated that DHHS could have found and fixed many of the problems before the audit became public.


Criminal Justice


COVID-19

Education Policy

  • SB37, the bill that would require all North Carolina school districts to offer in-person learning options, is still being revised. After the bill passed the Senate on Tuesday and a revised version passed the House on Thursday, the Senate chose to delay a vote until Monday night so that a conference committee could negotiate changes over the weekend. Democrats have criticized the bill as unnecessary, given that most school districts already offer in-person options and the rest plan to do so soon. While Governor Cooper is encouraging school districts to reopen for in-person learning, he has not mandated it.

Economic and Housing Policy

Health Care Policy

  • On Tuesday HB61 passed its first reading and was referred to the Appropriations Committee. The bill, which has bipartisan sponsorship, would greatly increase state funding to local health departments to fight communicable diseases, from $867,000 a year to $36 million. Local funding currently accounts for $19.8 million of local health departments’ budgets for communicable disease work, and this would be supplemented, rather than replaced, by the proposed funding.

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