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Old North State Report

June 10, 2022

Old North State Report – June 10, 2022

Done by July 1?

North Carolina state lawmakers are still saying they want to finish up their session by July 1, and that means getting a budget bill done by then, too.  Senate leader Phil Berger said Tuesday that he hopes the House and Senate can reach their budget agreement within 10 days.  At stake are more raises for state employees and teachers, building and infrastructure projects, and what many people notice most now: high prices everywhere and how much of their money the government keeps.  The session began May 18. Leaders of the General Assembly, which is majority Republican, have already reached a deal on the total spending amount: $29.5 to $30 billion. 

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Medical Debt De-Weaponization Act

State Rep. Edward Goodwin remembers visiting the emergency room after driving a 16-penny galvanized nail through his foot. “I walked in there, and the hallway was full of indigent charity cases when I got there,” Goodwin told fellow lawmakers Tuesday. “The only difference between me and them was I had a health care plan and I could pay for it.” Even with a health care plan, Goodwin said it cost him about $1,500 for an X-ray of his foot and a tetanus shot. “None of the indigent care people out there could have done that,” said Goodwin, R-Chowan. “The hospitals now are not checking, they’re not asking, ‘Can you pay for this?” HB1039 which Goodwin is co-sponsoring, would require hospitals to do more to assess whether patients are eligible for free care, and would limit how and when they can turn over a patient to collections.

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ncIMPACT Initiative

Thirty-seven North Carolina counties will participate in a pilot program to train young people for careers in information technology and other fields. The initiative is focused on people aged 16 to 24 who struggled with staying in school or college during the pandemic.  Anita Brown-Graham calls these young people "opportunity youth." She's director of the ncIMPACT initiative at UNC- Chapel Hill's School of Government, which is leading the project. The program, called Our State Our Work, is in its early stages. UNC will partner with local school systems, community colleges, workforce agencies, and nonprofits. Through partnerships with Google and Microsoft, participants will learn skills to prepare them for jobs in IT fields. 

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Familiar Face to Lead New School of Law 

Former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin will be the founding dean of the developing High Point University School of Law, the university announced Tuesday.  Martin will return to work in North Carolina after more than three years as the head of the Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Martin served as chief justice from September 2014 until early 2019, when he stepped down to take the Regent job. Martin called the High Point dean's job that he'll begin officially next week a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” 

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