Government

Op-ed: Managed-care Medicaid program will be too costly for docs

May 3, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

David Tayloe, a pediatrician from Goldsboro, says the General Assembly's Waiver Proposal, which would convert the state's Medicaid program to a for-profit managed-care system, will lead to high administrative costs for physicians. Providers will drop out of the program, Tayloe says, leaving patients without access to high-quality care.

Former US Rep. Robin Hayes to lead NC GOP after Harnett ouster

May 2, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Following months of accusations aimed at Chairman Hasan Harnett, the North Carolina Republican Party voted for his removal on Saturday. Former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes of Concord will finish out Harnett's term. Hayes previously served as chairman from 2011 to 2013. Harnett, the state party's first black chairman, was accused of not raising enough money; lowering the party's convention fees, a moved opposed by other party leaders; and attempting to hack the party website.

Proposal to repeal HB2 sent to 'graveyard' of Senate

April 29, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A bill filed Wednesday that would repeal the state's controversial LGBT law has been sent to the Senate Ways and Means Committee — know as the graveyard of the Senate — which hasn't met in years. An identical proposal filed Monday by House Democrats was referred to the Judiciary IV Committee. That committee's co-chairmen will decide if it gets a hearing.
Related: March sadness: The NCAA adopted a nondiscrimination policy for cities wanting to host its games, meaning North Carolina could be shut out if HB2 stays

McCrory's budget includes 5% raise for teachers

April 28, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory's $22.8 million budget proposal would give state employees a one-time bonus averaging 3%. Teachers would get an average salary increase of 5%, bringing the average teacher pay to $50,000. The proposal also includes $21 million for salary increases for state troopers, law enforcement agents, prosecutors and public defenders. McCrory's budget reflects a 2.8% increase over the current fiscal year; Senate leaders are targeting a 2% increase.

NC to receive $45M in settlement with drug companies

April 28, 2016

(WRAL.com)

Drugmaker Pfizer will pay $784.6 million a national settlement over allegations that Wyeth, owned by Pfizer since 2009, underpaid Medicaid rebates. North Carolina will receive more than $45 million, Attorney General Roy Cooper said.

 

Apodaca: Voters should decide on HB2

April 27, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

N.C. Senator Tom Apodaca told an Asheville TV station he thinks voters should decide on whether to keep the state's controversial LGBT law. "Let's put it on the ballot and get it over with once and for all," he said. The Hendersonville resident is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and second-in-command to Senate leader Phil Berger.

NC housing agency receives $224M for mortgage assistance

April 27, 2016

(Burlington Times-News)

The federal government has allocated $224 million for the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund, which was started in 2010 to provide loans to homeowners facing hardships to help with their mortgage payments. An agency spokeswoman says the funds were unexpected and program was winding down; the money will allow it to continue operating for about two more years.

Highlights of first day of legislative short session

April 26, 2016

House Democrats filed a bill to repeal House Bill 2, while a coalition of Anti-HB2 groups delivered boxes of petitions to Gov. Pat McCrory's office on the first day of the General Assembly's short session. Protestors and supporters of the bill turned out in large numbers, and 54 people were arrested. Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas became the latest entertainers to boycott the state over the bill, canceling a Charlotte concert that was scheduled for June, and the American Institute of Architects canceled plans for a four-day conference in Wilmington. Asheville also lost a four-day conference as the Kellogg Foundation canceled due to HB2. Aside from HB2, state Reps. Tricia Cotham and Charles Jeter introduced separate bills to try to stop construction of the Interstate 77 toll project in north Charlotte.

Federal judge upholds North Carolina's voter ID law

April 26, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder issued a 485-page ruling upholding the state's 2013 election law that requires voters to show a photo ID in order to vote. The ruling dismisses all claims in the challenge to the law and also upholds portions of the law that shorten the early voting period, eliminate same-day registration and prohibit people from casting ballots outside their precincts.

Protests expected as legislative short session begins

April 25, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Sit-ins and rallies by groups both for and against House Bill 2 are expected as the N.C. General Assembly begins its short session on Monday. Chris Sgro, an openly gay Greensboro resident and executive director of gay-rights group Equality NC, was sworn in Sunday to finish out the term of Rep. Ralph Johnson, who died last month. President Obama weighed in on the controversy on Friday, calling for the law to be overturned, and an interfaith group organized by about 40 liberal clergy gathered Sunday evening in Charlotte, also calling for the law to be repealed. Gov. Pat McCrory will be more interested in promoting his budget proposal, which includes teacher raises and infrastructure improvements.