LEGISLATIVE REPORT - July 23, 2019
There was plenty of talk about the budget last week at the General Assembly, but a bit less action. Since Governor Cooper vetoed the budget, he and the Republican leadership in the General Assembly have not appeared to come closer to a compromise. Cooper held a press conference to announce his version of a compromise, which legislative leaders said was actually a move away from common ground. A vote to over-ride the veto hung over the General Assembly all last week, but never materialized, which is surely a sign that they do not have the votes. Three weeks into the new fiscal year and we seem no closer to resolving the stalemate.
Medicaid expansion continues to be a major sticking point. A House committee passed a version of expansion with work requirements and premiums, but the Senate continues to assert the votes are not there for expansion in their chamber.
At the end of last week, the House passed a stop gap budget that mainly addresses needed changes to draw down federal money for programs and to keep up long-standing commitments that require new funding. House Bill 111, the Supplemental Appropriations Act, would:
- cover enrollment increases at public schools;
- expand the eligibility of veterans and dependents of veterans for in-state tuition;
- provide additional funding for Medicaid transformation efforts and NC FAST;
- fund the Suicide Prevention Hotline;
- set LME/MCO transfer amounts to DHHS;
- expand eligibility for Florence relief to farmers who were impacted by excessive rain and flooding from May 15, 2018, through December 31, 2018;
- fund Raise the Age implementation;
- provide funding for the Western Carolina University Steam Plant project;
- provide funding for IT upgrades for tax systems;
- transfer funds from the Highway Trust Fund to the N.C. Department of Transportation; and
- continue employer contributions to the retirement systems at the same as the recurring portion of the rates in effect as of June 30.
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