The House and the Senate moved nearer to a final budget deal this week, with members of both chambers agreeing to take over the full cost of the non-federal share of Medicaid. The takeover is intended to relieve counties from the rapid growth in costs and free up more local money for school construction and other costs. The counties' share of Medicaid is more than half a billion dollars this year and expected to continue to grow. Negotiators continue to differ over the best way to phase in the plan.
We also took steps this week to continue to tighten the state's ethics laws and improve education by moving the cutoff date for children to enter kindergarten. We made state and university buildings safer for visitors and workers by allowing smoking bans and approved a stricter law for monitoring hazardous waste storage facilities following an explosion at one such company in Apex.
Please remember that you can listen to each day's session, committee meetings and press conferences on the General Assembly's website at www.ncleg.net. Once on the site, select "audio," and then make your selection - House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room or Press Conference Room.
Also, if you seek more information regarding any bill mentioned in the Newsletter, or another one of interest, you may access the General Assembly's home page and enter the bill number, i.e., H77.