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Advocacy in Action

Posted By Jennifer Gill, Friday, May 25, 2018


May 25, 2018


North Carolina General Assembly Convenes
The North Carolina General Assembly convened this year’s “short session” last week. House and Senate leadership huddled this past Wednesday to knock out final areas of disagreement on the state budget with a vote expected next week. The budget is being unveiled as a conference report, a process that precludes amendments once House and Senate negotiators sign off on a deal worked out behind closed doors. The new bill will be discussed in committee and on the House and Senate floors, but it is not subject to amendment. Each chamber will have an opportunity for a simple yes or no vote, forcing Democrats and rank-and-file Republicans not involved in negotiations into an all-or-nothing proposition. Senate Bill 99, until now an unrelated piece of legislation, will be the vehicle for the budget conference report. There are 40 House members on the bill's conference committee who are empowered to negotiate on the bill, but none is a Democrat. Legislators will have more money to work with this session, with the state expected to collect $357 million more than anticipated this current year. This makes the fourth consecutive year in which the state will record a surplus.

We continue to track legislation of interest to our members and will keep you updated as individual bills move forward. Predictions are that the short session may be over by the 4th of July holiday.

LeadingAge North Carolina Board of Directors Approves Public Policy Priorities
The LeadingAge North Carolina Board of Directors approved a set of Public Policy Priorities at their May 14 meeting in Asheville. Work on the priorities had been spearheaded by the Association’s public policy committee, chaired by Jonathan Erickson from United Methodist Retirement Homes. The priorities will be utilized during the short session and to guide our advocacy over the interim before the start of the long session in January 2019. CLICK HERE for a look at the priorities.

New Community College Association President Hears from Aging Services Providers
LeadingAge North Carolina joined with other aging services providers across the state in welcoming new North Carolina Community Colleges Association President Peter Hans to his job. In the letter, Hans was urged to consider the workforce needs faced by many of our member communities as he considers priorities for his association. Also, included with the letter was a fact sheet. We also requested a meeting to be able to begin establishing relationships that will be beneficial as we move forward. Special thanks for Lutheran Services Carolinas CEO Ted Goins for providing leadership on this initiative.

Make Plans NOW to Attend Aging Policy Listening Session in Your Area
The first of the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services’ five Aging Policy Listening Sessions for the 2019-2023 State Aging Services Plan was held on May 8 at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville. The Listening Sessions, which are co-hosted by the NC Association of Area Agencies on Aging, will help identify the needs of the state’s older citizens, disabled adults, and their caregivers. The information gathered will also inform North Carolina’s 2019-2023 Aging Services Plan and will likely guide policy work for the Division, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies of state government for the next several years. The Session in Asheville drew over 160 people, with 24 people making remarks. Key issues identified by speakers were transportation challenges, support for senior centers, caregiver support, adult protective services, and housing issues. The dates and locations of the remaining listening sessions include:

May 30, 2018
New Hanover Senior Resource Center
2222 S. College Rd. Wilmington, NC 28403
Wilmington, NC
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

June 19, 2018
Pitt County Community Schools and Recreation Building
4561 County Home Road
Greenville, NC 27858
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

June 27, 2018
Centralina Council of Governments
9815 David Taylor Drive
Suite 100
Charlotte, NC 28262
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Attendees may register to speak upon arrival at the meetings or in advance by completing the on-line Listening Session Sign-Up Form. Speakers will be limited to three minutes and are encouraged to provide a written copy of their comments when registering. Those who are unable to attend one of the meetings may submit written comments by June 29, 2018 to: Aging Plan, NC Division of Aging and Adult Services, 2101 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-2101. Comments may also be e-mailed to agingplan@dhhs.nc.gov or faxed to Aging Plan at (919)733-0443. The current Aging Services Plan is available at http://www.ncdhhs.gov/aging/plan.htm.

New Website for General Assembly
The General Assembly has unveiled a new look for its website, www.ncleg.net. The new site makes it easier to access audio streams for sessions and meetings, and it includes a redesigned search function to find bills and individual legislators’ pages. There is also a new dashboard feature to follow House and Senate sessions.

Looking Back on the Primary Elections
There were no statewide races in the primary elections earlier this month and only 14% of voters actually voted, but the 75 legislative primary elections and 18 Congressional primaries produced some interesting results. The surprise upset of 9th District Congressman Robert Pittenger by Republican Mark Harris now makes this seat in Congress very competitive and could help determine whether Democrats can gain the 24 seats they need to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Three rating groups now list the seat as favoring the Democrat challenger, Dan McCready, a former Marine who drew more votes than Pittenger, Harris, and a third candidate. Eight incumbent members of the state General Assembly lost their seats: Rep. Justin Burr (R- Surry), Rep. Beverly Boswell (R-Dare), Rep. Duane Hall (D-Wake), Rep. Rodney Moore (D-Mecklenburg), Sen. David Curtis (R-Lincoln), Sen. Shirley Randleman (R-Wilkes), Sen. Ban Barrett (R-Davie), and Sen. Joel Ford (D-Mecklenburg). Rep. Sam Watford (R-Davidson) failed to win his party’s nomination for an open Senate seat and former Senator Bob Rucho who represented Mecklenburg County lost in his re-election effort, this time running in another district.

Star Rating System Survey
In 2008, the NC General Assembly passed legislation to establish a Star Rated Certificate program for assisted living facilities, which includes adult care homes and family care homes. This legislation was in response to requests for increased availability of public information about the care provided in facilities based on facility inspection reports. Since its inception, there have been increasing concerns raised that the Star Rating System, as currently designed, has numerous shortcomings and is of limited value as a tool in assisting consumers to help make informed decisions regarding care options. Based on concerns raised by both consumers and providers, the General Assembly passed legislation last year that directs the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to study the Star Rating Program (House Bill 657) and to report back to the General Assembly about this. One of the ways that the Department is getting input for the study is through a survey being done by the Division of Health Service Regulation which is heading up study efforts. DHSR will continue to collect surveys until July 31 so there is still time to provide input into ways to make the Star Rating System a more effective source of information. To complete the survey, click here. To read more about this go to this NC Health News article.


LeadingAge North Carolina | 222 N. Person Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
919-571-8333 | info@leadingagenc.org | www.leadingagenc.org


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