Under the Dome

Dome: First abortion bill of the legislative session filed in Senate

February 26, 2013 

The first abortion bill of the session has been filed. Senate Bill 132 would require that students be taught that abortion can cause premature births in subsequent pregnancies.

Whether that’s true or not is a matter of some dispute among medical professionals, and a committee of the state Child Fatality Task Force heard from doctors on both sides in November. But it was one of the recommendations the full task force ultimately included in its list for legislators to consider this session.

The bill’s sponsors are Sen. Warren Daniel of Morganton, Sen. Jerry Tillman of Archdale, and Sen. Shirley Randleman of Wilkesboro, all Republicans.

The bill would require school health education to include information about how pre-term births can be prevented, and include a statement that abortion is one cause.

Funds for group homes

The state House gave unanimous approval to a measure that will allow group homes for the mentally disabled and Alzheimer’s units in adult care homes to tap into a $39.7 million state fund to compensate for the loss of Medicaid money. The bill now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.

Under federal pressure, the legislature last year changed how people qualify for personal care – help bathing, eating and walking – that’s paid for by the government health insurance program.

Many people with mental disabilities living in group homes no longer qualify, and pay for special care for Alzheimer’s patients is under new limits.

The bill allows payments to group homes and special care units from a special fund set up to compensate adult care homes for Medicaid losses until June 30. Group home owners, advocates for the mentally ill, and a new group called the N.C. Alliance for Alzheimer’s Care want legislators to approve long-term solutions.

Coble admitted to hospital

U.S. Rep. Howard Coble has been admitted to Cone Hospital in his hometown of Greensboro for tests. Coble has been experiencing bouts of dizziness and light-headedness for the past few weeks, his spokesman Ed McDonald said in a news release.

The Republican congressman, who’s 81, will spend the night in the hospital for observation and tests. Doctors say his vital signs look good, McDonald said.

McDonald, who travelled with Coble all last week during the district work period, said the congressman maintained a full schedule, he said in the news release. “We travelled to Alamance, Orange and Rockingham counties, and had many meetings throughout the 6th District,” McDonald said. “There were times last week when Howard said he was feeling light-headed and needed to sit rather than walk or stand, but he still maintained all of the meetings and tours scheduled.”

Hagan calls for pipeline approval

Approve the Keystone XL pipeline in the next month, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan and 19 other U.S. senators are saying in a letter to the new secretary of state, their former Senate colleague John Kerry.

The pipeline would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to ports on the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. Environmentalists oppose the pipeline because of the heat-trapping emissions from producing and using the oil, and because of the threats of spills along the line.

The bipartisan group of senators told Kerry to approve the pipeline quickly. “Further delay will continue to hurt job creation and may damage our relationship with Canada,” they write.

Staff writers Renee Schoof, Craig Jarvis, Lynn Bonner and Mary Cornatzer

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