Take actions on up to 4 issues. In fact, for each issue, you can write your representative, write a letter to the editor, or both!
Senate Bill 35 has passed the House and has been placed on the Senate calendar for final approval on August 16. This bill raises the marriage age to 16 under all circum-stances, including pregnancy, requires parental consent for marriage at age 16 or 17, and further requires that there must be no more than a 4-year age difference between the parties to allow marriage under age 18. The bill is expected to pass. Currently, children as young as 14 can marry in this state, a situation that has made North Carolina a go-to state for child marriages. Last year, for example, two-thirds of marriage license applications in Buncombe County, a county that includes Asheville, were from out-of staters seeking to marry underage partners. We are finally ready to close the book on that ugly chapter. Also talking about state budget, Governor Cooper’s priorities, and how state budget defectors take leverage away from the governor.
Kathy Greggs, a US Army combat veteran from Fayetteville, went to the Legislature to speak to the state House Appropriations Committee for Health and Human Services to urge lawmakers to expand Medicaid, expand workers’ rights, and pass affordable housing protections. Although Greggs and others were able to sign up to speak, they were told they couldn’t speak. Greggs didn’t accept that. Here is what happened.
There is one thing that would significantly help North Carolinians in every part of the state – Medicaid expansion. Expanding Medicaid would be a huge win – providing more health care in every county, more health care jobs in every county, pump billions of federal money into the state, provide support for rural hospitals and people, and also bring ripple effect benefits to communities around the state. As you may know, past Governor Pat McCrory signed away the governor’s ability to expand Medicaid as one of the first things he did in 2013, so the NC Legislature has control of that. There is more pressure for the NC Legislature to expand Medicaid since the federal pandemic relief bill from March 2021 contains even more great incentives to add on to all the other wins NC would get by expanding Medicaid. More at North Carolina Health News – https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2021/03/18/medicaid-expansion-incentives-pandemic-relief-bill/. The new American Rescue Plan includes “substantial incentives for states to expand Medicaid, as well as [providing] spending boosts to improve care for new moms, people with disabilities.” Expanding Medicaid would inherently help more women (and their children/families), since more women fall into this working poor space.
Black Maternal Health Week was observed in North Carolina with the introduction of Senate Bill 632,/House Bill 507, the North Carolina Momnibus Act, that targets the Black maternal health crisis in the state and addresses the gaps in reproductive health care during the pandemic. The maternal death rate is especially high in North Carolina. We rank 30th out of the 50 states. Nationally Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white or Hispanic women. The United States has the highest maternal death rate of all the Western democracies, and, most alarmingly, the rate has been rising. This summary talks about the state bill to address the Black maternal health crisis, and that followup legislation and appropriations will be required following data and research. Other major changes in health care will also be required, such as expanding Medicaid.
There are so many important and interesting articles, we don’t want to lose track of them. In North Carolina, we have the lobbyist involved in the fundraiser being former Raleigh mayor Tom Fetzer, who told contacts that the fundraiser recipient could succeed House speaker Tim Moore. The 2 year anniversary of the murders at UNC-CharlotteContinue reading “Lobbyist Involvement In Fundraiser Causes Cancellation, More Articles”
The NC NOW Legislative Update #9 summary talks about many things –
– Governor Cooper’s proposed budget
– HB 354 to improve hate crime law, gender and also ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, disability, and sexual orientation—all categories not covered by our present law
– legislators interfering in settlement to a lawsuit that extended the time that absentee ballots would be accepted and counted, and introduced a bill to that would ban the Attorney General from settling lawsuits that name legislative leaders without including the legislators in the negotiations.
– response to the voter suppression bill, SB326, following national trends
– North Carolina Republicans have joined the national movement to bar trans women from participating in school sports by introducing HB 358
Normally during a short session the budget passed during the long session is tweaked, and funding for a few local projects is passed. Budgets passed by the General Assembly cover a two-year period. This year the situation is much more complicated because last year the governor vetoed the budget bill backed by Republicans and no substitute budget bill was ever passed. Instead we are operating by using the level of funding contained in the previous budget supplemented by a series of “mini budget” passed last session that funded certain departments or items. This week action focused on piecemeal budget bills with local targets and one major budget item, pay for teachers. The legislature keeps passing bills to allow various businesses to open during the pandemic, and the governor continues to veto them. The Senate passed a bill that would allow local areas to hold July 4 parades and other activities in spite of the restrictions the governor has ordered for the pandemic. This is no way to run a state.
The NC legislature is back in session. See the bills on which they are allowed to consider during the short session (in 2020). Under normal circumstances, the short session would focus on tweaking the budget, local bills, and bills that passed one house or the other during the long session. However, these are not normal circumstances. Read what is happening with state budget, Medicaid expansion, and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
NC NOW is capturing some articles on the need for Medicaid expansion here. This is not an extensive list, since NC has refused to expand Medicaid for over 10 years. Since the state legislature again refused to expand Medicaid during a session that began April 28, 2020, there has been another set of articles. FindContinue reading “More Letters on Need for Medicaid Expansion”