Spay Neuter Funding
Sen. Kinnaird's bill, Senate Bill 684 which establishes a spay and neuter funding mechanism, was approved during the final days of session. NC had the highest kill rate (over 250,000 in 2006) of abandoned pets in the US, spending over $35 million of taxpayer money in capturing, housing, and euthanizing the animals. A portion of pet fees from rabies inoculations will be set aside to provide funding for lower income pet owners to spay and neuter their pets. This has been a years’ long battle, and animal activists agree that this is progress.
Adults who were adopted can now more easily access information about their birth parents and medical information, as a result of the approval of House Bill 445. The bill is scaled down from its original proposal, but advocates anticipate the issue being studied in the interim, with proposed changes coming in the short session.
We passed three important bills on issues relating to predatory lending and mortgage protection, which Governor Easley signed into law today. House Bill 1374 makes the foreclosure process fairer and helps protect homeowners from abusive mortgage loan servicing. House Bill 1817 protects home buyers from predatory lending practices and ensures they can afford to repay the loans made to them. House Bill 947 requires notice to tenants (and an opportunity to terminate the lease) when the property they are renting is foreclosed on.
Assistance to Seniors
In addition to several items in the budget, we approved several bills aimed at protecting our senior citizens. House Bill 1499 expands and improves the property tax homestead exemption. House Bill 1537 improves the process for the recovery of estates of individuals forced to go on Medicaid, most typically when they enter a long-term care facility. Senate Bill 56 overhauls the penalty review process and makes other changes to long term care regulations that are more compassionate and consumer friendly. We also established a rating system for adult care homes.