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Old North State Report

May 27, 2022

Old North State Report – May 27, 2022

GOP Support of Medicaid Expansion – What Changed? 

North Carolina should join most other states in the country in expanding Medicaid coverage to lower-income residents, some Republican leaders said Wednesday morning.  “We need coverage in North Carolina for the working poor,” N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger, formerly an opponent of Medicaid expansion, said at a news conference.  It’s generally estimated that expanding Medicaid coverage would extend health insurance to around half a million North Carolinians. Republicans have long opposed it, citing both philosophical and monetary concerns, so Berger’s about-face signals a significant change. Read more 

Hemp Legalization

North Carolina took one more small step toward legalizing the hemp industry in the state Thursday as the “2022 Farm Act” passed the Senate’s rules committee.  Senate Bill 792 would distinguish hemp from marijuana by defining hemp as cannabis having less than 0.3% of Delta-9, the chemical in marijuana that produces the drug's high.  It would also exclude hemp from the state's list of controlled substances.  Passage by the rules committee is considered a formality before the bill heads to the Senate floor. The full Senate is expected to pass the bill next week. The bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. Read more 

Battle over Mental Health Transport

Involuntary commitments are ordered by a judge when a person is determined to be a danger to themselves or others. In most North Carolina counties, a commitment order triggers a call to law enforcement to transport the patient to a hospital to be evaluated or to an available psychiatric bed. The nearest opening could be located at a hospital several hours away. Amid local and national conversations about “defunding the police” this practice is getting a new look. Even law enforcement officials are asking if some of the roles assigned to them — such as transporting mental health patients and responding to mental health crises — should be done by professionals with a different set of skills. Read more  

Cawthorn Out – So, Who is Chuck Edwards?

State Sen. Chuck Edwards is drawing national attention after narrowly defeating incumbent Madison Cawthorn in last week’s GOP primary for the 11th Congressional District.  Cawthorn is the embattled first-term congressman from Western North Carolina who has earned powerful opposition within his own party, largely due to a series of scandals, some of them self-inflicted and others the results of leaks to the media.

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