Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

We want to wish everyone a very Happy and safe New Year!!  The Arc of North Carolina Policy blog will be celebrating with friends and family the next two days.  We will be back to our normal posting schedule on Friday, January 2.

(If however we get the news about the new NC Secretary of HHS...we will take a break from our Holiday celebration and post about it!)

President-elect Obama's Policy Plan for Americans with Disabilities

Because it is always good to have a plan. Here is President-elect Obama's policy plan that addresses many of the issues facing Americans with Disabilities.

Still waiting...here is more reading

The News and Observer Under the Dome has this great read giving you the bio and campaign wrap up on Governor-elect Bev Perdue. Enjoy the read.

While we wait for Governor-elect Perdue's announcements...some reading material....

Good morning folks.  Still no word on if today is the day that Governor-elect Perdue will announce her cabinet. My guess is no.

So while we wait I thought we would turn our focus to other inaugural excitement, like maybe President-elect Obama's inauguration. This historic event will take place in Washington, DC with multiple events, balls, and of course a parade.  If you had been reading our Election 2008 coverage we posted information on the disability policy plans of both Senator McCain and Senator Obama.  So as we get ready for a new president to take the oath we thought you might want to read Obama's plan again.  Here it is, enjoy!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Quick HIts: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:

All ears are on the announcement of the Governor-elect's cabinet.  Meanwhile at the General Assembly all is quiet.  Committee meetings are not scheduled until the week of January 5th.  


US Congress is on holiday break.  The Obama transition team is still at work and preparation for the inauguration are underway.

When Congress returns on January 6th it will not be business as usual. Normally they do the formal swearing ins and then break.  This year they will get down to business.  An economic stimulus plan is first on the agenda with a timeline of being ready for the signature of the new president shortly after he takes office.

Governors are actively putting forth their wish list for how the feds can help with economically helping struggling states.  Included on this wish list are infrastructure money, jobs and Medicaid help.

We will keep you up to date on the happenings and how it will affect our states budget shortfall.

No Announcements Today on Cabinet

Under The Dome is reporting that Governor-elect Perdue will not be making any cabinet announcements today or tomorrow. This is according to statement by David Kochman a spokesperson for Governor-elect Bev Perdue.

Check out Under The Dome.

Waiting on the Announcements

On January 10, 2009 Governor-elect Bev Perdue will take the oath of office and make history as the first woman governor of the state of North Carolina.  As exciting as this is, the real excitement this week is the wait for the announcement of secretary of Health and Human Services.

Who will the pick be? What will be the plan to address the state wide needs of people with developmental and cognitive disabilities? Will the new Governor be hands on?  Lots of questions but few answers.

The rumor mill is churning and we are constantly checking the major North Carolina news sites.  When we know something for sure...you will too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Wish You a Very Happy Holiday Season

Thanks for reading the blog.  We will be taking a vacation break to spend time with our family and friends and to celebrate all the joy of the Holiday Season!

We will post a blog again on Monday, December 29th!  Enjoy the holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Governor-Elect Bev Perdue Transition Reports

Governor-elect Bev Perdue held multiple transition team meetings in November. Some of the topics were education, aging, transportation and mental health/developmental disabilities/substance abuse.  All of the reports are now available to the public, we encourage you to check them out at the Governor-elect Perdue website.

Monday Quick HIts: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:

All is quiet here at the North Carolina General Assembly as the Holiday break is underway.  There are no committee meetings scheduled for this week.  There are some news stories however dealing with the revenue collection in our state.

The Upcoming Budget:
News and Observer is reporting that state revenue is down by 6.1 percent.  This supports the information we have been receiving in numerous committees that there will be a lot of need and not a lot of money to go around.  

New Administration:
Governor-Elect Perdue has been slowly rolling out her cabinet and her picks for key secretary positions.  There have been lots of names in the rumor mill for the Secretary of HHS but nothing yet has been confirmed.  Last report was that current Secretary Dempsey Benton would be stepping down but Chris Fitzsimon wrote on NC Policy Watch that maybe Secretary Benton may be having second thoughts.  When we know who it is, you will.

Committee Reports:
So far there have been  few  final committee reports to discuss but with session starting on January 28th we will see a big push soon. 

The Holidays:
We wish you all a very happy holiday season. We will be posting our regular scheduled blogs here starting right after the Holidays.  There will also be some new formats.  We will be keeping the Monday Quick Hits and we will be updating the Friday Wrap Up once the session starts.  Julia's Musings will return once the committee reports start up.  We will also be updating what is included in the Dispatch from Jones Street features.

We appreciate you hanging with us as the new year starts.


Economic Stimulus

The Obama Transition team is working with Hill leaders on a new economic stimulus package that seems to grow by the week. The latest estimates put the stimulus in the range of $650 to $850 billion. Escalating unemployment, which could go as high as 9% in 2009, has served to increase the goal of saving or creating 2.5 million jobs over the next 2 years. The stimulus package, in addition to addressing employment, is expected to boost federal support to states, and pump new money into education, health care, infrastructure and energy programs. Aid to the poor and unemployed will also be part of the stimulus. The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), in which The Arc and UCP have key leadership roles, has prepared a number of recommendations pressing for disability related program increases in the stimulus.

111th Congress

Cabinet appointments have expanded the number of interim appointments needed to achieve the full complement of Senators and Representatives in the upcoming Congress. The 111th Congress will begin work on January 6. There are now three Senate seats needing to be filled - Clinton (NY), Obama (IL) and Salazar (CO). In addition, the recount for the still undetermined Senate seat in Minnesota may not be settled until early in 2009. The House seat of Department of Labor Secretary Designate Hilda Solis (D-CA) will also need to be filled.

Health Care Reform

Representatives John Dingell (D-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) have reached an agreement that will place Rep. Dingell as the lead sponsor of the national health reform legislation that the House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider next year. Dingell will be "Chairman Emeritus" and will play an integral role in the health care negotiations with Congress and with the incoming Obama Administration. This arrangement will allow the Committee to focus on two major priorities next year: health care reform and climate and energy legislation.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Monday Quick HIts: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:

After a Thanksgiving break and a hectic last week, we are seeing more committees releasing their recommendations for the 2009 Legislative Session.  The final recommendations for most committees will be voted on this month.  Once we have them we will post them here.  Until then, here are a few meetings of interest for this week.

Monday, Dec. 8
The Child Fatality Taskforce - Perinatal Health Committee meets, 1228/1327 LB.

Wednesday, Dec. 10
9 a.m. | The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee meets, 1027/1128 LB.

10 a.m. | The 21st Century Transportation Committee meets, 643 LOB.

1 p.m. | The Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee meets, 544 LOB.


If you watched any news programs this weekend, it is clear that the big topic in DC is how to manage the economy, jobless rates that keep increasing and the concerns that the big three auto makers are having.  The big three auto makers, Ford, Chrysler and GM are asking for billions in loans to stop them from heading into bankruptcy. As of late Friday night, news channels were reporting a possible deal.  We will keep you up to date.  We are also looking at how a future stimulus package may be shaped. 

All work in DC should wrap up around December 20th.