Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Senate Bill 652: Prohibit Sale of Novelty Lighters

This bill is recommended by the Child Fatality Task Force; a group commissioned by the General Assembly to study the cause of childhood deaths in North Carolina. The bill prohibits the retail sale of novelty lighters that "are designed to resemble a cartoon character, toy, gun, watch, musical instrument, vehicle, animal, food or beverage, or similar articles, or that plays musical notes."

NASW-NC strives to ensure the safety of the citizens of North Carolina,including children. This bill will further protect the safety of children.

For more information on this bill, visit

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

FW: House Health Committee

From the Capital Beat:

As noted earlier, Republicans are trying to knock down S 526, an anti-bullying bill. The controversy in the bill resides in this paragraph:

Bullying or harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, acts reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics.

That has drawn opposition from groups such as the N.C. Christian Action League. The House Education Committee heard the bill today. There was so much pending discussion that the chairman delayed a vote on the bill until at least Thursday. But I did find a couple bits of the meeting useful. An exchange between Rep. Hugh Blackwell, a Burke County Republican, and Rep. Rick Glazier, a Cumberland County Democrat, helped clarify what would constitute bullying versus free speech. Click here to listen to that. Also, Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam laid out his objections to the bill. Click here to listen to those, with a short rebuttal from Sen. Julia Boseman, the bill's sponsor, at the end. At the beginning of that second take, Stam was asking to pass out a PCS - a proposed committee substitute. In legislative land, a PCS is a rewrite of a bill that contains more extensive body work than is appropriate for a mere amendment. The chairman didn't let him make that motion.

View article...


From the Capital Beat:


The House Health Committee passed S 1030, which I wrote about this weekend:

There are 748 after-school programs operating on public school campuses throughout the state. Of those, 280 have restrictions placed on their playgrounds by the Division of Child Development. Problems found in other areas around the state include 8-to-10-foot drops with little or no surfacing to absorb falls, broken swings, rusty nails and "entrapments." In each of those cases, if the school deems the gear safe, children can play on it during the day.

Click here for the whole story. The question arises because public schools and the folks who license after school programs have different standards for what constitutes "safe" playground equipment. One solution would be to require schools to get their equipment up to the division's standards. Instead, the measure says that whatever the faults with the playground equipment, it won't keep an after school programs from getting licensed. The bill was amended by the House Health Committee to say that the fact the playgrounds might not be up to snuff can be noted on the Division of Child Development rating - a sort of caveat to alert parents. It next goes to the Education Committee.

View article...

FW: [ncwu-members] Join Ipas for a special film event in Durham

Editor’s Note: NASW-NC is a member of NC Women United:

Dear NC Women United Members,

As Ipas’s representative to NC Women United, I’m pleased to invite you to join us for a special showing of our new documentary film, Not Yet Rain. The invitation is below, and we hope that you will pass this along to others who might be interested. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks, Margaret Barrett

Not Yet Rain,” a Lisa Russell film in association with Ipas, explores abortion in Ethiopia through the voices of women who have struggled to find the care that they need. The film, which is about 20-minutes-long, is available for free download and viewing at

For those of you who are in the Triangle area, we hope that you will join Ipas and our cosponsors, the Archive for Human Rights at Duke University Libraries and Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, for a screening event on Thursday, June 11, at 7:00 pm. The event will include food and wine, an opportunity to view the film on the big screen, and a discussion moderated by Ipas Executive Vice President Anu Kumar, Ipas Africa Region Manager Shirley Owino, and Kirsten Sherk, Co-Producer of the film;

Every year, millions of women around the world risk their lives to end unintended pregnancies. While a law enacted in 2006 marked great progress toward reproductive freedom in Ethiopia, “Not Yet Rain” shows that changing the law is just the first step; much more needs to be done as women continue to die from unsafe abortions. Until women are aware of their rights, and health-care professionals have the training, equipment, and will to perform abortions, unsafe abortion will remain a problem. Training for health workers and increased availability of care could save the lives of women in Ethiopia and around the world.

If you are interested in attending or have any questions, please email Although an RSVP is not required, it will help us to know how many guests we should expect.

Ipas is an international organization that works around the world to increase women's ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights, and to reduce abortion-related deaths and injuries. We believe that women everywhere must have the opportunity to determine their futures, care for their families and manage their fertility.


Here is a link for detailed directions to the Durham Arts Council

GAO Report on Use of Seclusion and Restraint

Editors Note: This comes to NASW-NC from the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities


FYI - from DD Council partner....

The importance of the attached report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the use of seclusion and restraint in schools and treatment centers merits a wide distribution.  Also attached are the recommendations from the Alliance for the Prevention of Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion. Thank you in advance for your attention and for sharing this information with others.

Eastpointe to get back control over patients' care

Eastpointe to get back control over patients' care

By Matthew Whittle

Published in News on May 24, 2009 2:00 AM


Before mental health reform in North Carolina, local management entities were in charge of authorizing and approving plans of care for all patients receiving either state or federal dollars.

In 2006, the state changed the procedure -- contracting with a private company, ValueOptions, to oversee Medicaid claims and billing, while leaving state-paid indigent care under the purview of the LMEs.

However, said Eastpointe Director Ken Jones, that created a system in which some patients' care was being overseen by the LMEs, others whose care was being overseen by ValueOptions and some who were being overseen by both.

"You had some clients with two different plans of care going on," Jones said. "We really couldn't track where the Medicaid clients were."

And, he said, it is that situation that some have blamed for clients falling through the cracks in recent years, and for the extraordinarily high Medicaid reimbursement claims seen in the mental health system in 2006 and 2007.

Then in December, the state took steps to improve the system, allowing all 24 LMEs in North Carolina to apply to once again manage Medicaid dollars, which make up a "very large percentage" of mental health patients, including most children and about half of adults.

Of those LMEs that applied, only four were selected -- The Durham Center, Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health, Western Highlands Network (includes Asheville) and Eastpointe, the LME for Wayne, Duplin, Sampson and Lenoir counties.

"It was a pretty stringent review," Jones said. "You had to be a pretty good LME to be selected."

Now, since late February, Eastpointe has been working with the state to begin implementing the necessary procedures for making the transition.

"We will be the approver of all services -- Medicaid and state," Jones said. "That's something we've been trying to get back, and legislators all over the state are very supportive of returning this back to the local agencies.

"We know the clients. We know what their needs are. And we feel like we can manage those better than a private entity like ValueOptions."

The goal, he said, is to have employees and software in place and everybody trained and ready to go by Jan. 1, 2010. And, he added, if everything goes well, it's a program that could be extended across the state.

"This really puts Eastpointe out there. Other LMEs are looking at us. The state is looking at us. We're in the forefront," Jones said.

The only obstacle, he continued, could be the budget. But despite the cuts that the state Department of Health and Human Services is likely to suffer, he is confident this effort will continue.

"This has the support of the secretary and a lot of legislators," he said.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Social Work license plate bill was voted out of committee yesterday! Stay tuned for more information.

HB 1168 Title Protection for Social Workers in JII next week!


Our bill has been assigned in the Senate and will be heard in the JII committee next week. Stay tuned for more information on how you can make your voice heard!

Jack Register, MSW, LCSW

Director of Advocacy & Legislation

Advocate! Educate! Celebrate!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Women on Board Workshop

Get Ready, Get Set, Get on Board!

Appointed leaders play key roles in municipal, county, and state government. Women from all backgrounds already have the skills necessary to pursue these public service opportunities. Join us for an interactive workshop that will equip you with tools to identify and pursue your dream appointment.
• Learn why appointed positions are powerful & important
• Get an introduction to how boards and commissions are structured
• Understand the difference women have and can make in public policy
• Identify your public service interest
• Explore strategies for securing positions
• Develop research skills to identify opportunities
• Make a plan to reach your public service goal

Women on Board Workshop

Saturday, May 30, 2009 8:30am – 3:30pm

Pitt Community College Reddick Building- Room 242 Greenville, NC

Cost per participant = $20 (includes all materials and lunch)
Register to attend at

For more information, contact us at or 919-508-2308
Additional Women on Board Workshops will be held across NC throughout 2009.

NCCWPS - Connecting Women. Cultivating Leaders.

The NC Center for Women in Public Service is nonprofit, non-partisan, statewide organization that works to prepare women to seek and serve in elected and appointed positions throughout North Carolina.

Friday, May 15, 2009

NASW-NC now on Twitter!

“NASW-NC is now on Twitter! Connect with us for real time updates on Advocacy and Membership related issues with NASW-NC! Connect at “

Op-Ed from Durham Herald-Sun: "Our Strained Safety Net"

Ellen S. Holliman: Our strained safety net for mental health needs

By Ellen S. Holliman : Guest columnist

The Herald-Sun
May 15, 2009

It seems that almost everyone these days in Durham County is feeling stressed out, anxious and just plain worried.

So why, at a time when addressing people's mental health needs is increasingly critical, are an overwhelming majority of primary care doctors having difficulty finding mental health services for their patients?

Mirroring a national trend, demand for mental health services is increasing in Durham County. At the same time demand is increasing, at least 32 states are known to be enacting mental health funding cuts -- reducing services, closing programs, imposing hiring freezes and cutting or freezing reimbursement rates for providers.

Access to mental health treatment for people without insurance in many parts of Durham County is limited. Waiting lists are growing as funding decreases.
The number of clinical screenings provided by Durham Center Access is up significantly in 2009, and demand is strong at our 24/7 crisis facility.

Mental health advocates in many states are actively protesting against the budget cuts. Here in North Carolina, concerned citizens from across the state will gather in Raleigh on Wednesday for The Coalition Advocacy Day and Rally, an opportunity to advocate to legislators for better funding for mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive disease services and supports.

The current state of community mental health -- the front line mental health safety net -- is, well, depressed. Further limiting access or reducing funding to mental health services will only exacerbate a festering problem.

"Every day we see more people showing up at our doors with mental health and substance abuse issues, so it seems clear that the safety net provided by our community's publicly funded services is beginning to strain," said Patrice Nelson, executive director of Urban Ministries of Durham, a local homeless shelter.

Abandoning people with unmet mental health needs puts additional strain on our local economies and North Carolina's welfare systems. Cutting services results in patients getting placed in costly state mental hospitals and nursing homes. Without treatment, others will end up on the street or in jail.

Before legislators vote to take away money for services for the mentally ill, they should listen to people like "Michael." Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, his heavy use of drugs and alcohol often led to his mental health breakdowns, resulting in a 26-page criminal record and Medicaid and Medicare payments of tens of thousands of dollars annually in ER visits and hospitalizations.

Then he became part of Durham's Integrated Dual-Disorder Treatment program, an evidence-based practice combining substance abuse and mental health treatment.Team members are trained in both treatment approaches, use a non-confrontational approach, provide support and actively look for ways to motivate the consumer to change.

Today, Michael is clean and sober, taking his medication regularly, living in his own apartment, holding down a good job and finishing his high school education. He plans to continue his education and is optimistic about his future. He has his life back in his own hands.

As we continue to bail out some of the richest and most powerful corporations, banks and investment brokers, let us not abandon our most vulnerable citizens.

Ellen S. Holliman is area director of The Durham Center. To learn more about The Coalition Advocacy Day and Rally, visit

C 2009 by The Durham Herald Company. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

good news NC Prescription Drug Assistance Program

Hello Advocates for a NC Prescription Drug Assistance Program:

This will be brief and to the point. The NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission voted to continue both NCRx and ChecKmeds for the next couple of years. We will know more details later. This is great news.

However – words of caution:
1) The final state budget has NOT been created and we may need to spring into action to actively protect the funds that remain in the Health and Wellness Trust Fund. Right now – as far as we know - things are okay.
2) The Commission did not vote to improve NCRx in the cost-effective ways we suggested (including all Medicare beneficiaries – not just those 65 and older – and improving the monthly benefit max. from $29 to $35/mo in premium assistance). However, we hope to advocate with the Commission on these issues in the coming months as these are investments with great returns.

We know there are major Medicare D adjustments coming down the pike for 2010 and beyond and we will try to keep you informed esp. as the issues relate to our SPAP (state pharmacy assistance program). As you may know NCRx and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program are NC’s TWO qualified SPAPs at this time. This means STATE investments qualify to “pull down” federal benefits to NC citizens!

We appreciate your patience and if you have helped with this – GREAT job. In fact, the work of the Advocates is highlighted in a new report (which focused mainly on Senior PharmAssist during the interview process) – from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. See for more info. This report was released on Monday.

Together NC in Durham
Join Us for a Town Hall Discussion
in Durham
on the Necessity of Public Investments in North Carolina
North Carolina's state government faces a historic budget shortfall- close to $5 billion or more than 20% of the total budget for 2009-2010 alone. It is critical that elected officials hear from folks in their communities about the importance of public programs and services so they can make budget decisions that support communities and families and do not undermine the state's economic recovery.
The institutions North Carolina families rely on -- education, health care, unemployment insurance, housing assistance, just to name a few -- are in jeopardy this year.
Make Your Voice Heard! Attend the town hall meeting in Durham—and help us spread the word!
Wednesday, June 3rd
6:30 to 8:30 PM
NC Central University Campus
H.M. Michaux, Jr. School of Education Auditorium

Hb 1168 Makes it out of the HOUSE 116-0!

Title Protection for Social Workers, HB 1168, has made it through the HOUSE vote yesterday 116-0! Now we are off to the Senate!

Together NC in Rocky Mount
Join Us for a Town Hall Discussion in Rocky Mount

on the Necessity of Public Investments in North Carolina
North Carolina's state government faces a historic budget shortfall- close to $5 billion or more than 20% of the total budget for 2009-2010 alone. It is critical that elected officials hear from folks in their communities about the importance of public programs and services so they can make budget decisions that support communities and families and do not undermine the state's economic recovery.
The institutions North Carolina families rely on -- education, health care, unemployment insurance, housing assistance, just to name a few -- are in jeopardy this year.
Make Your Voice Heard! Attend the town hall meeting in Rocky Mount—and help us spread the word!
Thursday, June 4th
6:00 to 8:00 PM
Edgecombe Community College Campus Auditorium
225 Tarboro Street

Thursday, May 7, 2009

NC Senate Bill 526 Passes!

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate approved the School Violence Prevention Act with a vote of 26 to 22. This bill will now be sent to the House for review.

Information on the bill can be found here:

Many thanks to the coalition and lobbyists who advocated on behalf of this bill!

Community-Based Mental Health Programs Improve Youth Performance and Save Millions In School Costs

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)has been working on the report, “Working Together to Help Youth Thrive in Schools and Communities.” Through this study, researchers have yielded some very interesting results that benefit youth and also reduce school costs.

The results, which proved affective as early as twelve months of enrollment in the program, showed that only 8 percent, as a opposed to the national average of 15 percent, of students had to repeat a grade. It also saved $4.5 million by having more children promoted to the next grade level.

Increases in graduation rates and decreases in depression, anxiety, and suicidal attempts also resulted in program participation.

For more information on this study,

Foxx Apology

Republican U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx has written a letter of apology to the mother of Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming man whose name is on federal legislation adding sexual orientation to hate-crimes laws. During recent debate on the bill, Foxx, who represents North Carolina's 5th District, called attempts to label Shepard's 1998 murder a hate crime "a hoax." She said that he was killed during a robbery and not because he was gay. Shepard, 21, was robbed, beaten and left to die on a fence near Laramie, Wyo., in 1998. Two men pleaded guilty to killing him and testified that they singled him out because he was gay. Foxx's remarks caused an uproar, and she later issued a statement saying that her use of "hoax" was "a poor choice of words." Neither Foxx nor anyone in her office would return repeated calls and e-mails from the Winston-Salem Journal for comment.
In an interview with the television station WXII, Foxx said she was "speaking off the cuff," and that she was sorry she used the wrong word. The Matthew Shepard Act passed the House 249-175. Foxx voted against the bill. She told WXII that she sent a handwritten note to Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard's mother, saying that "if I said anything that offended her, I certainly apologize for it and know that she's hurting, and I would never do anything to add to that."(WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 5/06/09).

Burr Challenger

Kenneth Lewis, a Durham lawyer, is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge GOP U.S. Sen. Richard Burr in 2010. Lewis, 47, told party leaders and regulars at the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner over the weekend that he was making a run at the seat. Lewis is jumping in early, but he could face hefty competition if Attorney General Roy Cooper opts in. Lewis said his business experience and years of work with nonprofit groups, such as Action for Children, will help guide his work for ordinary citizens."We need to invest in a new prosperity that is broad-based and sustainable," Lewis said. A Winston-Salem native, Lewis clerked for then-N.C. Supreme Court Justice Henry Frye after graduating from Harvard law school in 1986 and has worked at firms in Charlotte, Raleigh and Durham. He raised money for Barack Obama's U.S. Senate race in Illinois in 2004 and helped lead finance operations for Obama's presidential campaign in North Carolina last year. He lives in Chapel Hill with his wife, Holly Ewell-Lewis, and three school-age children.(Dome, THE NEWS & OBSERVER, 5/07/09).

Teacher Furloughs

The State Board of Education on Wednesday approved rules for furloughs ordered by Gov. Beverly Perdue, but declined a request to allow schools to shorten the school year. Last week, Perdue announced that she was cutting employee salaries one-half of one percent. In exchange, employees will take flexible furloughs of 10 hours before the year ends. School boards and employees have been waiting for instructions on how to schedule the leave. Wake County school officials had requested that the board allow schools to hold 179 days of class instead of 180 to help handle furloughs. But the policy approved by the board includes no provisions allowing such a move. The furlough policy says teachers, media specialists, bus drivers and teacher assistants who require substitutes cannot take school days off.
But William Harrison, the board chairman and state public schools CEO, said he is telling local districts that employees can take furlough time here and there during the school day if they're not teaching or supervising students. For example, a teacher who has a planning period in his schedule that she doesn't need can count that time toward the 10 hours. The board policy changes furlough dates in Perdue's executive order to allow school employees to start taking time off this month rather than waiting until June. This gives employees who won't be returning to work next year the chance to take off work. Though the policy does not address school employees paid with county funds, Harrison said he recommends districts treat them as if they are state employees. Unlike teachers, bus drivers who are paid by the hour don't have days they can use for furloughs. It is still unclear how bus drivers will be able to take a 10-hour leave.(Lynn Bonner, THE NEWS & OBSERVER, 5/07/09).

Education Chairman

Sen. Tony Foriest, D-Alamance, has been tapped to succeed the late Sen. Vernon Malone as a co-chairman on two key education committees. Senate leader Marc Basnight announced Foriest would become a leader of both the Senate Committee on Education and Higher Education and the education appropriations subcommittee. Malone died last month. Foriest is in his second term in the Legislature.(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 5/06/09).

Lottery Funds

A House local government committee has voted down a measure that would have changed the formula for distributing lottery proceeds for school construction. Despite the unfavorable report on the bill sponsored by Rep Cary Allred, Rep. Van Braxton, D-Lenoir and the committee chairman, said it could be revived next week. "In Alamance County, we're only getting about 16 cents of every dollar that is spent (on the lottery) in Alamance County," said Allred, R-Alamance. Allred's bill would have done away with the practice of taking a county's property tax rate into account when computing proceeds. Current law favors counties that have higher than average tax rates. Committee members noted that the bill would create winning counties and losing counties. Rep Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, said it could hurt poorer counties, some of which have higher tax rates. "I'm in a dilemma," McElraft said. One county she represents, Jones County, would fare worse under Allred's proposal while another county, Carteret County, would fare better.(Barry Smith, FREEDOM NEWSPAPERS, 5/06/09).

Bullying Bill

The Senate has approved and sent to the House a bill that would direct how North Carolina school districts should write anti-bullying policies. Senators voted 26-22 on Wednesday to support the legislation. The chamber gave initial approval Tuesday by a similar, close vote after lengthy debate. There was no debate Wednesday. The measure would require districts set policies that list perceived characteristics of a person susceptible to bullying. Bill supporters said the list is needed to ensure districts know what type of bullying is unacceptable. Conservative Christian groups and the state's Roman Catholic bishops opposed the bill because of the list, particularly references to sexual orientation and gender identity. They say it could encourage approval of same-sex marriage.(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 5/06/09).

Editor's note: this is on the NASW-NC's legislative agenda. Congratulations to NC for seeing the perils of not protecting all kids.

Reporting Fundraising

Many political appointees would be required to report their fundraising activities under a bill approved Wednesday by the House. The bill would expand who must report fundraising and also close a loophole that applied to reporting required of the Board of Transportation. Members of that board were previously required to list their activities, but some appointees under former Gov. Mike Easley used a legal opinion to hide their fundraising activities. Board members, including former member Louis Sewell of Jacksonville, had reported doing no such activities despite being a big fundraiser in Easley's 2000 campaign.
Easley had obtained an attorney general's opinion that said fundraisers did not have to disclose their efforts unless they personally accepted contributions from individuals. That meant that typical fundraising activities such as holding receptions and soliciting people for contributions were not considered fundraising. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, seeks to change that. It defines fundraising as "the receiving and forwarding of a contribution, or the activity that results in an individual receiving, directly or indirectly, written acknowledgment from a contributor or recipient of the contribution, or from the agent of that contributor or recipient, that the individual is responsible for a contribution."The bill would require disclosure by appointees to the governor's cabinet, state Supreme Court, the state Court of Appeals, Superior and District court judgeships and to several boards and commissions.(THE NEWS & OBSERVER, 5/06/09).

Smoking Ban

The Senate Health Care Committee has recommended a scaled-back smoking ban bill that supporters hope will gain a more support than an earlier version. The latest iteration of the bill would only apply to restaurants and bars. Other workplaces, such as office buildings, would no longer be covered by the ban. Though Democratic leaders prefer a broader smoking ban that would outlaw smoking in virtually all indoor workplaces, it became clear in recent days that such a broad ban did not have enough votes to pass in the Senate. The revised measure now goes to the Senate floor. "Under this bill, you could continue to smoke where ever you want to, except in bars and restaurants," said Sen. Bill Purcell, D-Scotland.
Senators who had previously been conflicted about the bill indicated Wednesday that they are more comfortable with the latest version. Several said they were glad that it would allow people to sit around at an old country store while having a cigarette. The revised version is the latest in a long series of iterations of the smoking bill sponsored by Rep. Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson. Last month, the House passed a version of the bill that would ban smoking in restaurants and most indoor workplaces, but not in adult-only businesses such as bars. That version angered the state's restaurant owners, who complained that it would put restaurants and bars on an uneven playing field. If the Senate passes a different version, it will be sent back to the House. The House could concur with the Senate, or a committee of legislators would be appointed to work out to work out the differences between the two chambers' versions.(James Romoser, WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 5/06/09).

Employee Furloughs

The House Appropriations Committee has approved a measure that would allow state employees to take voluntary furloughs to help the state save money and avoid layoffs. Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham and the committee senior co-chairman, said many employees - particularly in the University of North Carolina system - are interested in time off in exchange for lost pay. That bill and another furlough bill approved by the committee don't prevent Gov. Beverly Perdue from ordering furloughs as she did last week. Michaux said lawmakers may still have to consider mandatory furloughs for the next budget.(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 5/06/09).

Sen. Dan Blue

Wake County Democratic Party officials have selected Rep. Dan Blue as the successor to the seat of Sen. Vernon Malone, who died last month. By law, Gov. Beverly Perdue must follow the group's wish to appoint Blue, D-Wake. The 59-year-old Blue became the first African American Speaker of the House in 1991, a position he held until the Democrats lost control in 1995. He gave up his House seat in 2002 for an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, then was reappointed in 2006 to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Bernard Allen.(THE NEWS & OBSERVER, 5/06/09).

Budget Hole

House budget-writes learned Wednesday that the state's budget gap has widened by roughly $1.5 billion, reaching an estimated $4.6 billion. The estimated shortfall is based on new projections generated after final tax payments due April 15 fell by 40 percent compared to a year ago. During the last two recessions, final tax payments fell by only half of that percentage. For the fiscal year ending June 30, the state is on pace to see a nearly 11 percent decline in total tax collections compared to last year, which Barry Boardman, the General Assembly's chief economist, called "unprecedented" in recent state history. "The state has never experienced the types of shifts in revenue that we're experiencing now," Boardman told lawmakers.
The news means House Democrats, who are drawing up their version of a spending proposal for the next two years, will have to dig deeper for spending reductions beyond what the Senate found in its budget plan approved last month. Additional taxes beyond the Senate's $550 million proposed increase for next year are possible, too. "These figures are astounding right now," said Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, senior co-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. House budget subcommittee leaders should receive their spending targets by the end of the week, he added. The latest revenue projections predict North Carolina will receive $17.52 billion in revenues during the 2009-10 fiscal year, or $1.3 billion less than projected earlier in the spring, according to a report provided to lawmakers. Officials must add another $200 million to that gap because Gov. Beverly Perdue opted to use some of next year's federal stimulus funds to close this year's shortfall, said Evan Rodenwald, another legislative fiscal analyst.
The shrinking revenues mean the House will have to make deeper cuts than the $22.1 billion that Perdue's office initially said was needed to run state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1. That figure was expected to maintain services at current levels, adjusted for inflation. Both Perdue's and the Senate's budget proposals used more than $1 billion in stimulus funds to narrow the gap. The revised projections also suggest lawmakers will need to find an additional $2 billion in revenues or cost cutting in the 2010-11 fiscal year.
While the state's economy could recover as soon as the end of the year, Boardman said it could be 2013 before North Carolina's revenue figures reach the $20.8 billion that had been expected this year before the economy soured. "We're a long way from getting well," said Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, said the state would be a better situation today if it had spent less and saved more this decade. But he said now wasn't the time to take an "I told you so" posture. "When hard times are present, you don't try to point a finger at somebody," Rucho said.(Gary D. Robertson, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 5/06/09).

The Coalition Advocacy Day & Rally

Wednesday, May 20th 2009

At the Legislative Building

16 West Jones Street * Raleigh, NC 27601

8 am: Registration opens, on the Portico at the back of the Legislative Building

8:30 am onward: Attend Legislative Committee Meetings (Info on meetings will be available day of the Rally)

(If you would like to speak with your legislator, please make an appointment in advance. This is a busy time of year, if you do not make an appointment, you might not get to speak with them. To learn who your legislator is and their contact information go to: )

9, 10, & 11 am: Trainings on Effectively Communicating with Legislators (3rd floor Auditorium)

(Want some easy tips on speaking with your legislators? Check out our Tip Sheet. )

All morning: Visit with legislators in their offices - use the Coalition talking points you pick up at registration

11 am: Popcorn on the Portico

12 noon: RALLY under the tent on lawn behind Legislative Building

For more information, visit:

Coalition Rally Day Parking

Free parking & transportation from the parking site to the Coalition Rally is provided. On Rally Day (May 20th) please park in the Upper Bunn Field area of the NC State Fairgrounds, which is adjacent to the twin oak trees at Gate 9. Buses will run to & from the rally starting at 8:30 am and running until approximately 2 pm. Coalition member Jane Phillips will be on-site all day providing assistance.

Directions to the Fairgrounds:

Map of Fairgrounds: