North Carolina's government got back up to speed Thursday with the federal shutdown now ended and federal funds for welfare, health and child care programs flowing back to the states. The state suspended Work First welfare applications earlier this week and told counties they'd have to make do with fewer child care subsidy dollars because money wasn't authorized by Congress after Sept. 30.
North Carolina appeared to be the only state that took such actions, rather than extending those services with state dollars and expecting reimbursement from the federal government. DHHS said it wasn't persuaded enough that North Carolina could count on that payback. The legislation that passed Wednesday night to end the shutdown directed reimbursement to the states for federal programs that continued during the shutdown. Read the AP story here.
***Gov. Pat McCrory’s latest stink and Kay Hagan’s postponed fundraiser — all below in the Morning Memo.***
"We spent $19,156 to replace broken tiles, flooring and make extensive repairs to plumbing that were not fixed by the previous administration," Genardo said. "Additionally, a pungent odor seeped into the governor's office, which made it an embarrassment to host company CEOs and guests at the State Capitol." Read more here.
From the Hickory newspaper: “North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory celebrated his birthday by playing in the Greater Hickory Kia Classic Pro-Am Thursday with World Golf Hall of Fame member Nick Price and Rock Barn Golf & Spa chairman and CEO Don Beaver. After he completed the ninth hole, tournament personnel greeted him with a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to him. McCrory’s team finished fourth in the morning Pro Am.”
“I believe it’s a critical part of Republicans gaining a majority next year,” Tillis says. We’re in his office in the Legislative Building in Raleigh. “This is the swing state; it’s the only state that Romney carried that’s considered a legitimate swing state, and I feel strongly that we have to have somebody with a statewide presence who can run a credible campaign. That’s the primary reason I decided to do it.” Read it all here.
Some of the most vocal complaints are coming from the Wake County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg school systems. Like their counterparts across the state, the large systems are searching for a way to carry out the new state requirements. “I’m hoping the General Assembly will talk with educators and look at the long-term consequences – both intended and unintended – of this legislation before it does irreparable harm that will take years and years and years to fix,” Wake County school board member Kevin Hill said Tuesday at a school board meeting.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Heath Morrison said the four-year contract and bonus plan has raised a host of questions, and threatens already-rocky teacher morale. Read more here.
This group includes people with incomes under the federal poverty level – $11,490 for a single person, $23,550 for a family of four – who would have been eligible for Medicaid if North Carolina officials had chosen to expand that government health program for the poor and disabled.
But North Carolina is one of 26 states – most with Republican governors and Republican-controlled legislatures – that rejected the expansion. The people who would have qualified for Medicaid are allowed to buy insurance through the online exchanges created by the new law, but their incomes are too low to qualify for premium subsidies. Read more here.
Members of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network scheduled a rally starting Friday near the Legislative Building. Participants planned to walk to the headquarters of the state Department of Environmental and Natural Resources nearby. The network calls the event a "rally to end environmental racism" and alleges state policies and permits allow industries to pollute without regard to the health of residents or their property values.
The rally and march coincides with the network's 15th annual Environmental Justice Summit being held in Whitakers.