Brooks Pierce Capital Dispatch: Governor Signs Medicaid Expansion Bill, House Releases Budget Bill
Gov. Roy Cooper this week signed the health care bill that could expand Medicaid coverage, the House released its budget bill, and the House passed the sports wagering bill.
Gov. Cooper on Monday signed into law a health care bill (H 76) that could expand Medicaid health insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians. Although the Governor advocated for an immediate expansion of Medicaid, the bill makes expansion effective upon adoption of a state budget bill.
Other health care matters in the bill include the Healthcare Access and Stabilization Program (HASP), which could bring a significant amount of federal health care funds to North Carolina, and reduction in the number of Certificate of Need (CON) approvals. CONs require hospitals and other health care entities to get state approval before certain construction projects and equipment purchases.
House Budget Bill
House leaders this week released the budget bill (H 259). The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday passed the bill after considering dozens of amendments.
The bill as introduced can be found here.
Among other things, the bill would raise K-12 teacher salaries by 10.2% over two years, provide certain paid parental leave for teachers, and restore pay increases for those with a master’s degree, cap class size in 4th and 5th grade at 24, and raise state employee salaries by 7.5% over two years with additional raises for school bus drivers and members of the State Highway Patrol. It would also reduce the individual income tax rate to 4.5% in 2024 (a year earlier than currently planned), provide an adoption tax credit, and increase the child tax credit.
The bill now goes to the House floor for consideration next week. Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) has announced a goal of passing it through that chamber before Easter.
The House this week by a 64 to 45 margin passed a bill (H 347) that would authorize, regulate, and tax sports wagering in North Carolina. The bill now goes to the Senate, which passed a similar bill in 2022. Gov. Cooper supports it and is expected to sign it if it reaches his desk.
Under the bill, the North Carolina Lottery Commission would be responsible for issuing licenses to involved parties and regulating sports wagering. Wagering could either be interactive or at certain sports facilities or a place of “public accommodation” associated with such facilities. Wagers would be allowed on professional sports, college sports, electronic sports, amateur sports, or other events approved by the Lottery Commission.
A privilege tax of 14% would be levied on each interactive sports wagering operator. Proceeds from the wagering would go for a variety of purposes including grants to each county to benefit youth sports and to certain UNC schools for their athletic departments. In addition to such earmarked purposes, 30% of the remaining funds would go to a new Major Events, Games and Attractions Fund to attract nonprofessional sporting events to North Carolina and 60% would go to the state’s General Fund, which funds most state entities other than transportation.
Information about bills and work of the General Assembly can be found at its website: www.ncleg.gov.
For more information, contact a member of the Brooks Pierce Government Affairs Team.