Thursday, April 28, 2011

Update of bills

Now that deadlines are finished in both the House and Senate, all bills have been filed. I wanted to update you on a few. I recognize that there are many filed that interest different people but in the effort to respec your time, I will keep the list as small as possible. If you ever have questions about any of these, do not hesitate to contact me!

H 659, Capital Procedure / Severe Mental Disability

This bill has always been supported by NASW-NC. The bill prohibits defendants to have a severe mental disability at the time they committed a crime from being sentenced to death. Defendants can attempt to prove their severe mental disability either before trial or during the sentencing phase. However, mental disability which manifested itself primarily by repeated criminal conduct or was caused by alcohol or other drugs is not enough by itself to prevent the death penalty.

S 547, NC Human Trafficking Commission
S 547 creates the eighteen-member NC Human Trafficking Commission within the Department of Administration. The Commission is tasked with researching trafficking in NC and using that research to inform law enforcement, social services, and the general public. Also, the Commission will suggest new policies, procedures, or legislation. The Commission will assist in regional responses and identify gaps in law enforcement or social services and help identify responses to those gaps. NASW-NC is very supportive of this bill as Human Trafficking is a rapidly growing issue in NC and social workers have and will begin to face clients with trauma from such exposure.
H 734, Require Photo ID / Food Stamps Program
Requires a photo ID to electronic benefits transaction (EBT) cards used by SNAP food stamps) recipients. The bill provides for one additional individual to use the card on behalf of a primary recipient.

H 777, Defense of Marriage
Proposes a constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot in 2012 with the text, “Marriage is a union of one man and one woman at one time. No other relationship shall be recognized as a valid marriage by the State.”

S 597/H 863: Behavioral Health Services for Military Funds.
NASW-NC is VERY supportive of this bill. This bill ensures that the behavioral health needs of members of the military, veterans, and their families are met. NC is unique to the number of military bases in the state and the problem of meeting the needs military families continues to grow. Social workers are on the forefront of these issues and are supported in this bill.

SB 607: Conform Medical Records Laws
As we are moving into more electronic health records, this bill ensures that those with mental illness are able to opt out of how their records are shared. NASW-NC has worked within the Coalition for Persons Disabled by Mental Illness to work on the language of this bill with Senator Stein.

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