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January 16, 2020

Long Session Ends With No Teacher Pay Raise or Medicaid Expansion

The 2019 Long Session finally ended on Tuesday with Republican leaders once again scheduling and postponing a vote to override Governor Cooper’s veto of the State Budget. For the past 8-9 years, they have been winning on every issue. Unwilling to face reality, they remain unwilling to negotiate with Democrats.

To keep our state moving forward, we need both sides to be willing to compromise on the remaining Key issues: teacher and employee pay raises, the size of corporate tax cuts, how to fund school construction and other infrastructure, and Medicaid Expansion.

While Governor Cooper and Democratic leadership have made offers, Republicans have failed to move. Republican leaders are used to getting their way but the voters have spoken by electing Governor Roy Cooper and enough Democrats in the General Assembly to sustain his vetoes. Voters want greater investment in public schools, expanded health care access, and lower health care costs.

We reconvene on April 28 for the short session. Democrats will keep trying.

Teachers protest decision not to increase their pay - https://www.fox46charlotte.com/news/teachers-protest-decision-not-to-increase-their-pay
Senate leader predicts: No new state budget next year either - https://www.wral.com/senate-leader-predicts-no-new-state-budget-next-year-either/18885945

Kansas Expanded Medicaid

Kansas is one of the most Republican states in the nation. Like North Carolina, it is also a state with a Democratic Governor and a Republican-controlled legislature. This week common-sense Kansas Republicans announced an agreement with the Democratic Governor to expand Medicaid.

If this can happen in Kansas, then why not in North Carolina? The evidence continues to mount on the benefits of expansion. This week it was an academic journal article confirming that Medicaid Expansion lowers the death rate of opioid overdoses.

Here is how North Carolina would benefit from Medicaid Expansion at no cost to the state due to providers picking up the state’s share:

  • Closing the health care coverage gap for 500,000+ North Carolinians;
  • Lowering health care costs for all of us by reducing too high insurance premiums that are used to offset the cost of treatments for uninsured. unreimbursed Emergency Room care from the uninsured that we all end up paying for;
  • 37,200 new health care jobs by 2022;
  • $2.9 billion in new economic activity by 2025

    Editorial: Time's now for Berger to deliver on Medicaid special session - https://www.wral.com/editorial-time-s-now-for-berger-to-deliver-on-medicaid-special-session/18887458
    Capital Broadcasting Company

    Veteran Scholarships Funded After Months of Delays

    One positive outcome of this week's legislative session: House and Senate lawmakers unanimously passed $2.4 million in funds needed to continue and fully fund the Children of Wartime Scholarships program. The program helps eligible students who are the children of deceased, disabled, combat, or POW/MIA veterans.

    The funding was needed to pay for existing scholarships that students had been promised. The State Budget bill and subsequent mini-budget bills failed to provide the funding despite requests from Larry Hall (D) the Secretary of the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs and a recommendation in the Governor’s budget.

    You can find more information about the scholarship program here: .

    Governor Cooper Announces Finish Line Grants Program Has Awarded More Than 3,000 Grants Totaling Over $2 Million to Community College Students

    The Finish Line Grants program has issued more than 3,000 grants and $2 million since Governor Cooper announced the program in July 2018. The program helps students that face unexpected financial emergencies that might cause them to drop out.

    All of North Carolina's 58 community colleges and 23 workforce development boards participate in the program. They collaborate to apply for funding and to review funding requests from students that have completed 50 percent of their degree or credential. Students can receive up to $1,000 per semester by applying through their community colleges’ financial aid office or their local NCWorks Career Center.

    Eligible expenses include car repair payments, medical bills, utility bills, and child care expenses. To ensure accountability, the grants are commonly paid directly to the car repair shop, doctor’s office, utility or child care provider.

    To learn more about the Finish Line Grants program, click HERE: https://www.nccommerce.com/jobs-training/workforce-professionals-tools-resources/finish-line-grants.

    North Carolina awarded $56 million to promote children's well-being and early learning

    The NC Department of Health and Human Services was recently awarded $56 million in two federal grants to support children's health and well-being, improve access to high-quality early learning and invest in the state’s early childhood workforce. This is one of the state's largest infusions of new dollars in North Carolina's early childhood system.

    The two competitive federal awards include a $40.2 million Preschool Development Grant (PDG) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and up to a $16 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

    The PFH grant invests in the early childhood professional and parents. For early childhood teachers, it will provide on the job training to help them build the skills needed to support children’s optimal development.

    For parents, the grant funds a partnership with the Smart Start network to expand access to Family Connects, a nurse home visiting program for parents of newborns; support for families as their children transition into kindergarten; and expanded access to high-quality child care for infants and toddlers.

    The $16 million grant from CMS is to improve quality of care and reduce costs for Medicaid-insured children through the Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) model. This model coordinates healthcare and other sectors, such as schools, food, and housing. Medicaid and its partners will design and implement payment models that align incentives for positive health and well-being outcomes for children.

    NC will get $56 million for early learning. But Cooper says the state can do more - https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article239117583.html
    The News & Observer

    Editorial: Federal grants should push NC to increase pre-K funding - https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article239277198.html
    The News & Observer

    How to Engage

    It's tough to keep track of what is happening. Here are some ways to stay involved.

    1. Call me or my legislative assistant Young Bae at 919-733-7208 or email me at Inskola@ncleg.net with How can I get involved in the subject line.
    2. Follow us on Twitter at @verlainsko and Facebook at Verla Insko.
    3. Visit ncleg.net where you can see bills, listen to session, and see daily calendars.
    4. Help us spread the word on social media or by forwarding this newsletter and other alerts or key news items.

    As always, thank you for your support of my work in Raleigh as your representative. Please let me know of your position on issues, your suggestions for legislation and your requests for help.

    Verla Insko

    Please remember that you can listen to committee meetings and press conferences on the General Assembly's website at www.ncleg.net. Once on the site, select "Audio," and then make your selection – House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room or Press Conference Room.

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  • Verla Insko, NC House · 300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 502 LOB · Raleigh, NC 27603-5925 ·
    Phone (919) 733-7208 · Mobile (919) 618-9889 · E-mail verla.insko@gmail.com or verla.insko@ncleg.net