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Old North State Report

June 17, 2022

Old North State Report – June 17, 2022

Legislative Leaders, Governor Nearing Negotiations

Taxpayers in North Carolina are likely to see more tax cuts, and state workers could see more raises this summer, on top of those already coming. Leaders in the state House and Senate said Thursday the fast-tracked budget process is set to wrap up in the next few weeks. When the new fiscal year starts July 1, state employees are already set to get 2.5% raises, with many teachers expected to get the same, on average. Now they are expected to get more than that, if the General Assembly soon passes another spending bill and Gov. Roy Cooper signs it into law. There is a 20% vacancy rate for state employee jobs across North Carolina, and workers have said pay is a factor. The total spending agreement between the chambers is $29.5 billion to $30 billion. 
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Bill Updates

HB144 – A plan for statewide foster-care services, preferred by state health regulators, easily cleared the N.C. Senate by a 41-0 vote Thursday.  Because Senate bill sponsors, led by Sen. Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth, used the gut-and-replace strategy for HB144, the House is required to either agree with the changes or reject them.  A rejection would send HB144, titled Medicaid Children and Families Specialty Plan, to a concurrence committee in an attempt to reach a compromise between the two chambers.  The plan proposed in HB144 is opposed by the state’s six behavioral health MCOs and at least 30 counties, including Forsyth, all of which say they want to keep foster care services as close to local as possible.
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SB688 - North Carolina state lawmakers expect to vote by the end of the month on whether to legalize mobile sports betting, having negotiated a new plan that would generate more money for the state than originally proposed.  Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) said after the Senate passed a bill last year to authorize mobile betting for professional, collegiate, amateur and electronic sports, one of the biggest criticisms he heard was the state was leaving too much money on the table.  Under the Senate bill, non-partisan staff at the General Assembly estimated it would generate $8 million to $24 million annually. 
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HB149  - Cancer survivors this week were in Raleigh urging Republicans in the state House of Representatives to expand Medicaid coverage in North Carolina now that Senate Republicans have reversed course and are backing a bill to do that. Earlier this month, the Senate almost unanimously passed a healthcare access bill that expands Medicaid coverage to about 600,000 mostly low-income people and makes a variety of other changes to health regulations.  Following the Senate vote earlier this month, Republican House Speaker Tim Moore said he doesn’t intend to bring the bill up for a vote in his chamber during short session which is expected to adjourn by the end of June/beginning of July. 
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NCDHHS Awards Funds to Further Battle Opioid Addiction

People struggling with opioid use disorder will have better access to more treatment options because of funding awarded by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly $16,000,000 across 20 health care centers, treatment clinics and community-based providers will be used across the state to expand evidence-based treatment services, as well as employment, housing and transportation supports through innovative pilot programs to better help treat individuals and support them in their recovery. 
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Poll Shows Tight Race for NC's Open Senate Seat

Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd are locked in a tight race for North Carolina’s open U.S. Senate seat, according to a WRAL News poll. And stances on gun control in the wake of a deadly school shooting in Texas could be giving Beasley an edge, pollsters say. With less than five months until the November election, the poll of likely general election voters shows Beasley leading Budd by 4 percentage points in what is expected to be among the most expensive and competitive races in the country this year. 
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