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June 14, 2019

Update on the State Budget

House Republican budget leaders spent the week behind closed doors in their various subcommittees agreeing on the budget they would take to their Senate counterparts next week. The final Senate/House negotiations should take place next week with the final vote in both chambers coming the week of June 23.

If the final version of the budget bill does not include some form of Medicaid expansion, we expect the Governor to veto the bill. So far, Democrats are pledging to stand firm with the Governor, as we should. That’s the best chance we have for getting Medicaid expansion passed this year and our best message for the 2020 elections.

Behavioral Health: I've spent time this week talking with Republicans to get my bills passed or included in the budget. One bill I'm fairly certain will get passed is HB822, Comprehensive Behavioral Health Plan, a bill that requires DHHS to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for publicly-funded behavioral health services.

As we move Medicaid from a fee for service plan to a managed care plan, this bill requires the private sector managers to meet the same goals we require of our public sector managers. The managed care plans go live in November. Rep. Chuck McGrady has agreed to role the content of HB822 into a bill he is running to license Behavioral Health Analysts. He will get credit for the bill; but I'll know it's a good bill that I authored.

Innovations Waiver slots for IDD: I'm also working to add a specific formula for how our local behavioral health agencies (LME/MCOs) assign specially funded slots to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Orange County has received no new slots for three years and only one or two slots for the last 7 years. A formula based on a per capita basis will allow some slots to be assigned to Orange County.

SMAP funding: The State maintenance and assistance program that supports local transit systems. Last year, Republicans cut $8.5 million from that program resulting in an $868,000 cut to our local transit system. I was able to get that funding restored in the House budget; but it was not in the Senate budget. I and many others are working with the Transportation budget conferees to get the funding in the final version of the budget.

Medicaid Expansion and Opioid Abuse

This week Governor Roy Cooper highlighted the state's progress in addressing the opioid epidemic, but also highlighted the need to do much more through Medicaid Expansion.

We have made progress: In the last two years opioid dispensing has decreased by 24%, prescriptions to treat opioid use disorders increased by 15% and treatment for uninsured beneficiaries is up by 20%. And, there were nearly 10% fewer emergency department visits for opioid overdoses in 2018 than in 2017.

We still need to do more: Governor Cooper announced renewed focus on three areas to fight the epidemic: prevention, reducing harm and connecting people to care:

Prevention: Cutting supply of inappropriate prescriptions and illicit opioids, supporting youth through targeted programs to reduce misuse of the drugs and improving maternal and prenatal care for women battling substance abuse.

Reducing Harm: Training systems and pharmacists to connect people to harm reduction services, and making the naloxone kits more widely available to the hardest hit communities.

Connecting to Care: Expanding access to treatment and recovery support, and addressing the needs of justice-involved populations.

North Carolina's 2018 Juvenile Crime Rate Dips to Lowest Rate Recorded

North Carolina’s juvenile crime rate fell to its lowest point since the state began recording juvenile crime. The most recent report shows the following trends in the state's juvenile justice system from 2010-2018:
  • The juvenile crime rate fell by 41%.
  • The annual number of school-based complaints dropped 35%, though the percent of school-based complaints v. non-school-based complaints held steady, at 44%.
  • The number of children admitted to juvenile detention centers decreased by 62%.
  • The number of children committed to youth development centers decreased by 46%.
  • Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) programs – found in all 100 counties – served more than 21,000 youths in 2018. Nearly 11,000 of those children served (52%) were classified as at-risk, without involvement in the juvenile justice system.
  • The top three service types provided through JCPC programs were restitution/community service, interpersonal skill building and teen court.

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

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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