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Advocacy in Action

Posted By Jennifer Gill, Friday, June 9, 2017
Updated: Thursday, June 8, 2017

June 9, 2017

House, Senate Rebuke Cooper's Call for Special Session

The North Carolina House and Senate voted yesterday to cancel Governor Roy Cooper's call for a special session. Cooper, in an effort to get lawmakers to redraw state House and Senate election maps within the next two weeks, had called for a 14-day special session of the legislature. The session would have run concurrently with the ongoing “long” session. Cooper’s move was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week that affirmed a lower court ruling that found 28 legislative districts to be illegal racial gerrymanders that diluted the overall impact of black voters.

House and Senate Continue to Work on Budget

The fallout from Gov. Roy Cooper’s call for a special session has put a bit of a kink in plans to adjourn. It was anticipated that the two chambers would settle on a compromise budget and send it to the Governor late next week. With the likelihood that the Governor will veto the budget bill (and has ten days after receiving the budget to do so), the House and Senate most probably would then override the veto and adjourn the session, all in time for the 4th of July holiday. It’s unknown how the turmoil over the call for a special session will impact that rumored timeline.

Special Care Unit Moratorium Up for Discussion

We continue to monitor progress on the budget with relation to our top three priorities and other policy positions important to our membership. An extension of the moratorium on special care units appears in the Senate’s version of the budget (with the moratorium extended to 2019) but is not in the House version. Resolution of this issue – and other items that separate the two chambers) has been the focus this week of a special conference committee formed to hash out the differences.

Homeowners and Businesses May Receive More Cost-Effective Options for Solar Energy

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that North Carolina homeowners and businesses could soon be able to install rooftop solar panels without prohibitive upfront costs under a sweeping energy proposal moving through the state legislature this week. The bill would let residents lease solar panels on their rooftops rather than owning them outright, a financing arrangement popular in other states but long considered a nonstarter here. The leasing arrangement would remove a major financial barrier to solar energy by eliminating the down payment for homeowners – typically ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. The 20-page bill (House Bill 589) is the first comprehensive overhaul of North Carolina’s energy laws since 2007, when the legislature passed Senate Bill 3, known as the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, requiring electric utilities to sell power derived from solar energy and other renewables. The House passed the bill earlier this week and it now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Affordable Housing Under Attack

Housing is a basic human need that growing numbers of elders and people with disabilities cannot afford. LeadingAge and its members are the chief advocates for a strong federal role in affordable senior housing – development, preservation, and management including housing with supportive services. The programs for which we have worked over several decades face a number of challenges. We continue to advocate for creative solutions to ensure safe, decent and affordable housing for our nation’s elders. Click here for the latest on what you can do to add your voice to this vital issue.

New Survey and Certification Letter from CMS

A new Survey and Certification letter provides clarification about sending out notices to the state’s ombudsmen. Here is the direct language out of the transmittal letter from CMS:

A. Resident-Initiated Transfers and Discharges
A resident-initiated transfer or discharge means the resident or, if appropriate, the resident representative has provided verbal or written notice of intent to leave the facility. The medical record must contain documentation or evidence of the resident’s or resident representative’s verbal or written notice of intent to leave the facility. A resident’s expression of a general desire or goal to return home or to the community or elopement of a resident who is cognitively impaired should not be taken as notice of intent to leave the facility. For resident-initiated transfers or discharges, sending a copy of the notice to the ombudsman is not required. The transmittal also addresses Substandard Quality of Care.

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