Thursday, November 20, 2008

Today Is the MH DD SA Legislative Oversight Committee Meeting

This committee meeting is in progress right now.  The topics that directly affect people with developmental disabilities and their families will be after the lunch break.  The topics will address the developmental disability centers and the transition to the new CAP waivers.  

The meeting is running approximately thirty minutes behind schedule right now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MH DD SA Legislative Oversight Committee: Agenda

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on
Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services
November 20, 2008, 10:00 A.M.; Room 643, Legislative Office Building
Senator Martin Nesbitt, Co-Chair, Presiding

1. Greetings and Opening Comments 10:00 – 10:10
Senator Martin Nesbitt, Co-Chair
Representative Verla Insko, Co-Chair

2. Critical Measures LME Performance Matrix 10:10 – 10:30
Shealy Thompson, Ph.D., Quality Management Team Leader
Division of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS

3. Mental Health Leadership Academy Evaluation and Sample Results 10:30 – 11:15
Al Huntoon, Owner, Catalyst Consulting Services
James Johnson, Director, Urban Investment Strategies Center,
UNC Kenan Flagler School

Michael Watson, Area Director, Sandhills Center for MH/DD/SAS (LME)
Foster Norman, Area Director, Five County Mental Health Authority (LME)

4. Local Management Entities 11:15 – 12:15
a. Cumberland County Mental Health Center
Hank Debnam, Area Director

b. (Catawba-Burke) Mental Health Partners
John Hardy, Area Director

c. Onslow Carteret Behavioral Healthcare Services
Daniel M. Jones, Area Director

5. State Psychiatric Hospital Update 12:15 - 12:30
Dr. James Osberg, Chief, State Operated Services, DHHS

Lunch 12:30 – 1:30

6. Status of Items Funded in 2008 Appropriations Act 1:30 - 2:00
Leza Wainwright, Co-Director, Division of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS
Tara Larson, Acting Director, Division of Medical Assistance, DHHS
7. Supports Waiver and Comprehensive Waiver 2:00 - 2:30
Rose Burnette, Tiered Waiver Project Manager, Div. of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS

8. State Developmental Disability Centers Overview 2:30 – 3:00
Dr. James Osberg, Chief, State Operated Services, DHHS

9. Evidence Based Mental Health Treatment for Children 3:00 - 3:30
Dr. Dana Hagele, MD, MPH, Co-Director, NC Child Treatment Program


Tuesday Quick Hits: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:
If you are curious, session starts January 28th.  With that clock ticking in the background the General Assembly is holding multiple meetings over the next few weeks to get its legislative proposals set to go.  The budget is still the most obvious topic.  Budget projects show  short fall between 2.7 billion and 3.5 billion.  Personally, I am thinking 3.5 billion is more likely.  So with a tight appropriation there will be a lot of legislative proposals that will lack appropriation requests.  Here is the list of what we are watching this week:

Tuesday, Nov. 18
10 a.m. | The Joint Select Committee on Arts Education meets, 1228/1327 LB.
This committee has been meeting to create a proposal that would add one art credit requirement to the North Carolina high school graduation requirements.

10 a.m. | The House Select Committee on Compensation for Victims of the Eugenics Sterilization Program meets, 1124 LB.
This committee has been hearing testimony from people who were victims of eugenics and sterilization laws in our state.  Compensation for these victims has been the focus of these meetings.

1 p.m. | The House Select Committee on a Comprehensive Rail Service Plan for North Carolina meets, 1027/1128 LB.
How do we get people from Raleigh to Durham without driving? This committee continues it work on creating a realistic and do able plan to create a comprehensive rail plan for the state. Funding is going to be a topic in all transportation meetings.

2 p.m. | The House Select Committee on the Legal Aspects of Using Lottery Proceeds for Charter School Funding meets, 1228/1327 LB.

Wednesday, Nov. 19

10 a.m. | The Joint Legislative Health Care Oversight Committee meets, 1228/1327 LB.

10 a.m. | The Legislative Study Commission on Children and Youth meets, 1027/1128 LB.

10 a.m. | The 21st Century Transportation Prioritization and Efficiency Subcommittee meets, 643 LOB.
10 am. | The 21st Century Transportation Finance Subcommittee meets, 1124 LB.
1 p.m. | The 21st Century Transportation Committee meets, 643 LOB.

Thursday, Nov. 20
10 a.m. | The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health meets, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse meets, 643 LOB.

1 p.m. | The House Study Committee on Unbanked and Underbanked Consumers meets, 1228/1327 LB.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

GA Update: Committee Meeting Cancelled

If you are keeping track at home, the Housing Committee meeting scheduled for 2pm today has been canceled.  We will let you know when the next one is scheduled and what happens at it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Quick HIts: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

The Election is over and the committee meetings at the North Carolina General Assembly are back in full swing.  As November wraps up we will have a much better view of what legislation each of these committees will propose for the long session.  

North Carolina:

Monday, Nov. 10
10 a.m. | The Child Fatality Taskforce - Unintentional Death Committee meets, 1228/1327 LB.

Wednesday, Nov. 12
10 a.m. | The North Carolina Study Commission on Aging meets, 643 LOB.
Last meeting this committee received reports on the need for keeping and extending dental services for the aging and disability community.

10 a.m. | The House Select Committee on Televising Sessions meets, 1228 LB.
Last committee meeting, members received reports on how legislative sessions are televised in other states and how these models could translate to our state.  Members also received reports from local cable networks and public television discussing implementation of this program.  The Arc of North Carolina is supporting this initiative and did request to the committee that any program proposal must be fully accessible to all citizens of North Carolina.

2 p.m. | The Joint Study Committee on Housing meets, 544 LOB.
During the first committee meeting members received an overview of the Housing Trust Fund presented by the Housing Finance Agency.  Housing for people with disabilities is critical to create a successful independent transition for this community.  Accessible and affordable housing options are also in short supply.  We will be tracking this committee closely for their legislative proposals.

Thursday, Nov. 13

9 a.m. | The Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee meets, 544 LOB.
Options on how to address DOT transition issues and how to improve transportation in North Carolina will be on the agenda again this time.

10 a.m. | The Joint Legislative Commission on Dropout Prevention and High School
Graduation meets, 643 LOB.
This committee will again be meeting to hear presentations regarding the issue of keeping kids in school.


Congress will come back in session in a week.  During the lame duck session, Congressional leadership will try to work with the Bush administration to pass a second economic stimulus plan.  Disability advocates will be working to ensure that whatever economic stimulus package is created that Medicaid and Medicare state assistance is included.  There is growing concern across our nation that more Medicaid services to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities will see severe cuts.  We will be tracking all of these national developments and will be sending out action alerts as needed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What is Happening in DC?

During the presentation today on what is up in Washington DC, Paul Marchand Director of the Disability Policy Collaborative of The Arc and UCP Easter Seals covered the highlights of what has happened and what we might see happen.

So here we go: in the last six months the government has spent 2 trillion dollars on addressing the economic crisis.

So what is up in individual states? Well, thirty-nine states are facing a combined deficit of $40 billion dollars. Most of these states have constitutional amendments that require them to balance the budget. North Carolina is one of those states.

What is up with the federal deficit? Right now we are sitting at a federal deficit of seven trillion dollars.

So what do we think Congress is going to do next? Now that the election is over, there is a planned lame duck session that will begin in two weeks. The first thing on the agenda is to work to pass the second economic stimulus package.

What are we trying to get into this stimulus package to help our community? There will be a push to address the growing concerns in state regarding Medicaid. Lots of states are reporting that there are Medicaid services being cut, the focus of DPC’s lobbying efforts will be to work on how the Medicaid definition are written so that services can be restored.

What do we think we will be working on during the upcoming 111th Congress? Here is what President-Elect Obama will need to tackle right out of the gate. The first two major policy issue that the new administration will need to tackle is how to address the economic crisis and governmental spending. We are hearing more and more about the recession, are we in it or not in it.

So what will the 111th Congress look like? Right now the Senate has 55 Democrats, 2 Independents, 40 Republicans and three races that have not been called yet in Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota. The House will have 254 Democrats, 173 Republicans and six races that have yet to be decided.

What issues will we be discussing when the 111th Congress starts up in January? We will be looking at No Child Left Behind, Medicaid and Medicare, the DD Act, and many other issues that face people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Paul Marchand closed the session by reminding us that we need to get educated on the issues and take action. 

We at The Arc of North Carolina Policy Blog will be gearing up for both the 111th Congress and the 2009 North Carolina General Assembly by posting the issues and why they are important to you right here on the blog. We encourage you to ask questions and get involved.

The Arc of US Conference in New Mexico

Today I presented on Social Networking.  We did a great review of the power of blogs and facebook in messaging, creating a discussion and energizing advocates to be involved.  It was a great experience and the first time that I have ever presented at The Arc of US conference.  

Added bonus...since this is a policy blog, the next plenary during the conference is on policy issues and so we will be doing a little live blogging this afternoon.

Presenting Live From New Mexico

Good Morning Folks! I am live blogging from New Mexico today. We are at The Arc of the US conference. Join us for some reading!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 2008: Join Us As We Cover the Day

We will be updating the Election 2008 Blog as needed during the day.  This evening we will be blogging North Carolina election results and the overall National Presidential results.  We will provide a wrap up tomorrow evening of all of todays events.

Blogging the Results

We will be blogging the results of the National and State elections tonight.  Join us at The Arc of North Carolina Election 2008 Blog to follow all of the excitement as it happens.  

Most important, and we can not say this enough, Go Vote!!!!

Today Is Election Day! Go Vote!

Today, Tuesday November 4th voters across our nation will chose who should lead our country. People with disabilities will be heading to their polling places to cast important votes. We want you to know that you have laws that protect you in the polling places.

Here is what you need to know:

If I Have Registered to Vote and The Poll Worker Says I am NOT on the Roll:

If you are registered to vote and for whatever reason the poll workers do not find your name on the list of registered voters please ask for a provisional ballot.


The North Carolina Board of Elections site states the following on Voter Accessibility for people with disabilities:

Voting Accessibility: The Laws that Protect Me As A Voter With A Disability.
North Carolina boards of elections are committed to ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Most polling places in the State are accessible to all voters.

Unfortunately, some localities do not have the available structures or adequate funding to alter them. Contact your county board of elections to learn more about your particular voting facility. Note the “reassignment of polling place” provision should your polling place not be accessible in the near future.

Adaptive technology and ballots in accessible media are available upon request. Contact your County Board office and make them aware of your voting needs.

When a voter with a disability appears to vote at his or her precinct on election day, he or she may take advantage of the provisions in G.S. 163-155 and G.S. 163-152(a).


If a disabled voter does not wish to vote curbside, and the polling place is not sufficiently equipped to allow comfortable or adequate entrance to the building, there is another option in G.S. 163-130:
"G.S. 163-130. Satellite voting places. A county board of elections may, upon approval of a request submitted in writing to the State Board of Elections, establish a plan whereby elderly or disabled voters in a precinct may vote at designated sites within the precinct other than the regular voting place for that precinct. The State Board of Elections shall approve a county board's proposed plan if:

All the satellite voting places to be used are listed in the county's written request
The plan will in the State Board's judgment overcome a barrier to voting by the elderly or disabled persons;
Adequate security against fraud is provided for; and
The plan does not unfairly favor or disfavor voters with regard to race or party affiliation.


"G.S. 163-166.9. Aged and disabled persons allowed to vote outside voting enclosure. In any primary or election any qualified voter who is able to travel to the voting place, but because of age, or physical disability and physical barriers encountered at the voting place is unable to enter the voting place or enclosure to vote in person without physical assistance, shall be allowed to vote either in the vehicle conveying such person to the voting place or in the immediate proximity of the voting place. . ."


"G.S. 163-166.8. Assistance to voters in primaries and general elections. In a primary or general election, a registered voter qualified to vote in the primary or general election shall be entitled to assistance in getting to and from the voting booth and in preparing his ballots in accordance with the following rules:

Any voter shall be entitled to assistance from a near relative of his [her] choice.

Any voter in any of the following four categories shall be entitled to assistance from a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of the voter's union:

1. One who, on account of physical disability, is unable to enter the voting booth without assistance;

2. One who, on account of physical disability, is unable to mark his ballots without assistance;

3. One who, on account of illiteracy, is unable to mark his ballots without assistance;

4. One who, on account of blindness, is unable to enter the voting booth or mark his ballots without assistance."


The NC State Board of Elections at 866-522-4723.

Democracy North Carolina at 888-OUR-VOTE.

The Election Protection National Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.

North Carolina Republican Party - 1-919-828-6423 Extension 146

North Carolina Democratic Party 1-919-394-0403.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election 2008: Tuesday, November 4th is Election Day

Good Morning Everyone!  This is it.  We are counting down to the most important Tuesday on our calendar, Election Day 2008! 

Tomorrow, Tuesday November 4th is Election Day!  We will be posting a comprehensive voter information update today.  You will not be able to register to vote and vote on Election Day.  

If you are already registered you can vote tomorrow if you have not already voted.

Monday Quick HIts: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina

Election Day 2008:
The biggest event of the week is Election Day 2008 on Tuesday, November 4th.  Thanks to Early Voting options we have seen 2.6 million registered voters make their choice on who will be the next leaders of our state and nation.  We encourage you if you have not yet voted to vote.  We will be posting on this blog and on our Election 2008 Blog voting information later today.
After the Election the General Assembly will be back in full swing with committee meetings.

Wednesday, Nov. 5

10 a.m. | The 21st Century Transportation Committee -- Finance Subcommittee meets, 544 LOB.

1 p.m. | The Child Fatality Task Force - Unintentional Death Committee meets, 1228/1327 LB.

1 p.m. | The Gov Ops Subcommittee-Education/Health and Human Services meets, 421 LOB.

1 p.m. | The Gov Ops Subcommittee-Statewide/Capital/Gen. Gov. meets, 544 LOB.

Thursday, Nov. 6
9 a.m. | The Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations meets, 643 LOB.

1 p.m. | The House Select Committee on Compensation for Victims of the Eugenics Sterilization Program meets, 1124 LB.


Congress is on the campaign trail.  The US Senate will be returning for a lame duck session after the election is over.  The hot topic on the Hill is an economic stimulus plan.