Our seniors have helped make North Carolina a place that is growing and vibrant and have led us through many difficult times.
During my past term in the General Assembly, I supported several initiatives that we hope will keep them healthy, safe and financially secure.
Below, I have included a few highlights of our work in the past two sessions, as well as some information from the 2010-11 budget. I hope you will find it useful.
Please contact me if I can be of any help. I look forward to continuing to serve you.
The General Assembly has directed several agencies to begin better preparing for the aging baby-boomer population. The law (SB 195 – SL2009-407) directs the University of North Carolina Institute on Aging and the Division of Aging and Adult Services to organize meetings of gerontologists, researchers and others to identify and prioritize issues the state will have to address. It also calls for the development of a website with information about how to serve increasing numbers of adults.
The Division of Aging and Adult Services has been asked to study the issue of criminal history record checks for owners, operators, volunteers, and prospective owners, operators, and volunteers in adult day care programs and adult day health services programs. Among other things, the legislation (HB 1703 -SL2010-93) specifies that the study should identify which positions warrant a background check, develop a process for conducting the checks and designate who is responsible for requesting and paying for the check.
County Departments of Social Services have been directed to conduct follow-up monitoring of adult care homes (HB 1186 – SL2009-232). The law is meant to improve patient safety by improving oversight of adult-care homes.
Legislation to establish a long-term care partnership program was passed (SB 1193 – SL2010-68). Under a partnership program, a person who purchases a qualified long-term care insurance policy that provides a certain dollar amount of benefits will be allowed to disregard assets equal to the insurance payout when applying for Medicaid. States that have initiated a partnership program have found that this encourages people to plan for their long-term needs and also results in savings to their state Medicaid programs.
Several recommendations made by the N.C. Study Commission on Aging to expand dental care services for older and disabled North Carolinians with special care needs were approved, including having state agencies look at Medicaid reimbursement for certain services and coordinating workforce efforts to increase the number of dental care providers serving persons with special care needs. (SB 188 – SL2009-100).
Automated calls to protect the public health, safety, or welfare are now allowed under a new state law (HB 1034 – SL2009-364). The system will be used to inform people that they have purchased products or medication that may be subject to a safety recall; that the person has not picked up a filled prescription drug or that one of their accounts may be subject to potential fraudulent activity. The calls cannot be used for any commercial purposes.
The Division of Emergency Management is establishing a voluntary registry that counties and municipalities can use to identify functionally and medically fragile people during a disaster under a new state law (SB 258 – SL2009-225). The law also authorizes counties and municipalities to operate similar registries.
We passed a new law to clarify that a Silver Alert may be issued for a person of any age (HB 1129 – SL2009-143). The Silver Alert System is a statewide system used to notify people about missing persons believed to be suffering from dementia or other cognitive impairments.
The Statutory Homestead Exemption has been increased under a new state law (HB 1058 – SL2009-417). Qualified people aged 65 or older qualify for the exemption, which increased from $37,000 to $60,000.
The latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that North Carolina led the nation in employment gains from July to August with the addition of 18,600 jobs. The report also points out that our state ranked fourth among the states in employment gains from August 2009 to August 2010 with 36,700 jobs. We were third in the nation in over the year jobless rate with a decline of 1.2 percentage points.
Cree Inc., a global leader in LED lighting technology and products, will expand its manufacturing operations in Durham. The company plans to create 244 jobs over the next two years and invest $135 million.
Empire Foods Inc., an advanced-technology food processing company, will bring 200 jobs to Halifax County. The company, using technology licensed from N.C. State University, plans to create 200 jobs and invest $2.5 million over the next five years.
Baltek Inc., a manufacturer of core materials for the wind energy, mass transit, marine and military markets, will relocate to a new manufacturing facility in Guilford County. The company plans to create 68 jobs and invest $3.25 million over the next three years.
DNP IMS America Corp., a printing-technology company, will expand in Concord. The company plans to create 37 jobs and invest $24.8 million during the next three years.
I plan to attend the following meetings/events:
Please invite me to attend your county, city, community or civic, etc. meetings or events.
As I’ve said many times before, I hope you will continue to let me know how you feel about the issues that are being debated by the North Carolina Legislature and the challenges you and your family are facing each day.
By working together, we can make Northampton, Vance and Warren Counties and all regions of North Carolina a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Please remember that you can use the General Assembly’s website to look up bills, view lawmaker biographies and access other information. The site also contains detailed information about the state budget and legislative schedules.