This week is going to be a short but busy week at the General Assembly. The budget meetings are still taking place and the focus has now shifted to special provisions. The House is going to have subcommittee appropriation meetings again this Thursday. It looks like the full budget will be printed over the weekend and will be ready on Tuesday of next week.
Wednesday May 28, 2008
11:00 a.m. House Committee on Aging, 1425 LB
HB 2324 (Farmer-Butterfield) Statewide Aging Study: This bill will create a five-year statewide study of the state’s readiness to respond to the growing aging demographic in our state. There is growing concern around aging parent of aging children with developmental disabilities. This topic of preparedness on how to address this issue came up in both the Aging committee and the MH/DD/SA Legislative Oversight Committee.
11:00 a.m. House Committee on Transportation, 1228 LB
No set agenda yet for this committee but there are rumors regarding a transportation bond.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
8:30 a.m. House Appropriations Education, 421 LOB
House Appropriations will release it’s final budget numbers at this meeting. In the previous money report there was $6.2 million for children with special needs in our schools. We will be monitoring this meting and will report any changes.
8:30 a.m. House Appropriations Health and Human Services, 643 LOB
House Appropriations met previously and released it’s draft money/budget report. Included in that report was $8.2 million for CAP/MR-DD slots and slightly under $300,000 for Direct Service Dollars for several HUD 811 independent living projects in our state. We are monitoring this committee and will report any changes on Thursday.
The Senate approved a $165 billion war supplemental spending bill which included a one year moratorium on seven Medicaid regulations (including the rehab option, case management and school based administration/transportation rules). The moratorium was part of a domestic spending amendment which passed by a 75-22 vote. The House passed a different supplemental appropriations bill previously which also included a one year moratorium on the seven Medicaid regulations. These bills need to be reconciled as the major differences on issues such as troop withdrawal from Iraq and levels of domestic discretionary funding.
The Social Security Administration published final regulations on the Ticket to Work and Self Sufficiency program on May 20. While advocates are now reviewing the new regulations, initial reactions are that the regulations will mean some major improvements in the program. The final regulations can be found at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-10879.pdf. SSA will be posting a side-by-side table comparing selected provisions in the New Ticket rules with the old and other resources on its site: www.ssa.gov/work.
In North Carolina a special provision has been drafted that will delay implementation of Ticket To Work for up to 36 months as we wait for MMIS to come on line. This delay is a concern in the advocacy community. A letter has been sent to House and Senate Health and Human Services committee members addressing concerns regarding the delay of implementation of the program.
On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marked up H.R. 6003, a bill to reauthorize Amtrak. The bill authorizes funding to help Amtrak pay for the work needed to bring the train stations into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Senate passed its bill last fall without the ADA funding, but with a request for an updated plan on how Amtrak plans to comply with the ADA.