Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Hot Topics: Hot Policy Topics This Week

North Carolina

This weekend the media highlighted a major showdown regarding the budget. The House and Senate leaders are still working on the details of compromise on the budget. At the same time Governor’s Easley office advised the legislators that there is a projected $70 million shortfall for the next fiscal year. The media was reporting on Sunday some strong words between Governor Mike Easley and leadership in the legislature.  

July 1 starts the new fiscal year. There will be no need for a continuing resolution. Currently we are operating under the two year fiscal budget passed last summer.

So the real question is what happens now? Well, negotiations are continuing this week between the House and Senate. Looks like they will settle their differences and then check in with the Governor.  

This could get really interesting. Check out WRAL: Easley: Budget please 'falling on deaf ears'

Last week two important bills passed the House and Senate. House Bill 12 Students with Disabilities and Special Education Changes, passed the Senate with a vote of 47 in favor 0 opposing. This bill, which passed the House last year, implements a recommendation of the House Select Committee on Education of Students with Disabilities. It restores a protection for students who have not yet been identified as needing special education services, but whose behavior clearly indicates the need for such services. This bill will now head over to the House chamber for concurrence. We are expecting to see this legislation on the Governor’s desk for his signature within the next week.

Also last week, the Senate and the House passed their Autism Committee Recommendation bill. Included in this legislation is the removal of the 18 year old age limit on the Silver Alert system. This is important for parents of children with Autism or other cognitive disabilities. Currently the Silver Alert system is only available for individuals who are over the age of 18.
We expect to see this bill in House and Senate health committees this week.
The Arc of North Carolina is continuing to support both of these bills.

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