NC Legislative Update
By Cady Thomas
Bills and Legislation
The House and Senate talks to reconcile the state budget and send it to Governor Cooper have stalled. The Speaker and Senate Pro Temp are discussing a number of issues and will turn it back to the appropriators once they reach agreement on those. Items of difference between the House and Senate versions are numerous.
House Bill 554 – Designate 2023 as Year of the Trail
Governor Cooper has signed this bill into law. The bill designates 2023 as the “North Carolina Year of the Trail and encourages all North Carolinians to use their local and regional trail networks. It also enhances the State’s trails.
Senate Bill 228 – Allow Employers to Offer EPO Benefit Plans
The bill allows NC businesses to offer a new type of insurance to employees that will hopefully reduce costs. It is currently awaiting Governor Cooper’s signature. EPOs are Exclusive provider organization plans offered by an insurer in which insureds must receive covered services from health care providers who are under a contract with the insurer and under which there is no requirement of coverage for care received from a health care provider who is not under contract with the insurer. It does allow coverage of out-of-network services when the emergency services or medically necessary services provided could not be reasonably obtained from an in-network provider.
Numbers as of August 31:
1,213,654 total cases
3,612 currently hospitalized
14.6% percentage of positive tests each day
60% of adult population fully vaccinated
Other Important Items
The NC Senate has unanimously confirmed Elizabeth Bizer as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality. Most recently, Mrs. Biser was the senior policy adviser for the Recycling Partnership. Her previous positions include Legislative Liaison for DEQ and contract lobbyist for the Environmental Defense Action Fund and others. She is the first woman to lead this Department.