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House | February 19, 2015 | Chamber | Appropriations

Full MP3 Audio File

Committee will come to order. Committee will come to order. Members will take their seats. All extraneous conversations will please be taken outside the committee room. We're gonna have a welcome for our committee today. [??] Our pages for the week and you can please feel free to raise your hand when we call your name. Logan Fur of Wake County sponsored by Representative Martin. Winston Hayward of Mecklenberg County sponsored by the Speaker. [??] McGee Camass County, sponsored by Representative Johnson. Obviously she has her own cheering section. Johnny McNeil, Wake County, sponsored by Representative Martin. Elizabeth Stone, Wake County, sponsored by Chairman Dollar. Grace West of Moore County sponsored by Representative Boles and Mary Margaret West of Moore County also sponsored by Representative Boles. And we have our sergeant at arms with us today. We will move right into the one bill that we have on our calendar today. It's Senate Bill 14. The staff will help us go through the bill rather judiciously I think and then, then we have several amendments, some of which have been or will be passed out to you. We'll get into the amendments and we'll try to move this along. So, with that I recognize staff from either where you're sitting if you'd like or you can come up here. Either one, and currently the first few sections I believe on the education provisions first. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. Thanks, Chairman Dollar. My name is Brian Addison with Fiscal Research. Here's just a brief summary of Senate Bill 14 as it's before you. Section one provides that the State Board of Ed is to transfer $100,000 to the office of administrative hearings to be allocated to the rules review commission in conjunction with litigation costs incurred in defense of a case. Funds shall not revert, but remain available through the following fiscal year. It would be $100,000 transfer from the State Board to OH. Section two, somewhat similar construction for a different purpose, requires that from the Department of Construction's operating budget that $275,000 be transferred to the Department of Administrations to support the operations of the Academic Standards Review Commission. There are some restrictions placed on the upcoming expenditures of the commissions and limitations under subsections 1, 2 and 3. Section three on the following page holds that funds don't revert also for the funds in section two, they do not revert until the Commission terminates on December 31st at the end of this calendar year or upon the filing of a final report, whichever occurs first. Section four, restrictions are placed on the Academic Standards Review Commission with respect to doing surveys of the public and stakeholders on standards being considered by the review commission. Section five has some requirements for the commission to post minutes, agendas, handouts and presentations as well as audio recordings in the Commission website and also to stream those meetings as they happen. Then in section six, the last piece here related to education funds that are being transferred, the State Board of Ed in meeting the transfer and reduction needed to make the transfer called for in section two of the act may not make reductions to the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, the residential schools for the deaf and blind, communities and schools teacher of American and beginnings for parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Those are all activities that fall under the administrative umbrella of the State Board and DPI. With that, Mr. Chair, that concludes the summary for the education section. That means the college piece is up next. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair, Jane Perhoppen of the Fiscal Research Division. Section seven of the bill clarifies the Coal Ash Commission proceeds are divided between the Coal Ash Commission and DNR. The Coal Ash Commission

Is slated to get 26.5%. 26.5% and DNR will get the remaining money. Section eight starts by providing DNR the flexibility to hire up to 25 positions rather than requiring them to hire 25 positions. It also specifies the Coal Ash Commission's appropriation for the current fiscal year at $630,000 and then lastly it specifies that if revenues are insufficient to support the appropriations to the Coal Ash commission and to DNR, then each of those two entities are to take a proportional reduction in their budgets for the current fiscal year. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right, staff, what I'd like to do is if there are any questions on these sections of the bill what might be easier, more advisable for us as a committee is to go ahead and recognize Representative McGrady for an amendment to the Coal Ash section. We can explain that amendment and then we can address questions that members may have for the amendment or for the underlying provisions on Coal Ash that way we can deal with all Coal Ash at one time. So with that in mind, Representative, Co-Chair McGrady is recognized for an amendment and this should be amendment number three on your desk and the gentleman is recognized to explain his amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I believe that everybody should have gotten a copy of the amendment. I forwarded by electronically in advance of the session too. The amendment would do two things. First, it extends the deadline for owners of non-Coal Ash high or intermediate hazard dams to submit an emergency action plan, that's called and EAP, until December 31, 2005. Under the current law these EAPs would be required to be submitted by the end of March. It also, number two, clarifies that the EAP does not require a licensed engineer to review, approve and/or stamp the report. Under the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, EAPs are required to have an engineer to complete the report. I want to take those of you who are in the body back to the debate on the Coal Ash bill and if you remember I stood on the floor and told you that the Coal Ash Management Act, with the exception of one provision related to compliance boundaries, didn't have application broader than Coal Ash ponds. I humbly tell you now that that is not true. The dam safety provisions in the Coal Ash Management Act apply to high and intermediate hazardous dams whether or not they are Coal Ash impoundments and so the effect of the bill was to require these EAPs to be put together fairly quickly by March of this year and would require land owners to employ the services of an engineer. My expectation with the amendment would be that engineers would still be used by people that have very large impoundments to put together the EAPs but some of these impoundments, you know, are agricultural ponds and other really small things. DNR, as I understand it if you go on their website, you will see they have already up a way for a land owner to put together the maps that would be required for an EAP so you don't need an engineer necessarily to do all of this, and so the intent of the amendment then is simply two things. One, to give those non-Coal Ash owners of high and intermediate risk ponds additional time to get their EAPs in place, which is a new requirement, back to the Coal Ash Management Commission

Excuse me, Call Life Management Act that we passed last year and two to allow them to use a simplified mapping system when they put together their EAPs and I have, Mr. Chairman, I think I'll stop there for any questions if there are none. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We will entertain questions for Representative McGrady or staff on the amendment or sections seven and eight of the underlying bill. Any questions or comments from members of the committee? Seeing none, all those in favor of the adoption of the amendment please signify by saying aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, no. They ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. The next amendment will be offered by, [??] . Hold on just a second. Next amendment I would like to take up cause again this also relates to two provisions that are currently in the underlying bill, one offered by Representative Horne. Representative Horne you are recognized to explain your amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My amendment is fundamentally a technical correction on page one directing the funds to be paid $100,000, as soon as I find my copy of the bill. Here it is. Line 10, $100,000 to pay for litigation. All it does is allow the state board, DPI, to take that money from where they can take that money. It doesn't direct them that it has to come out of operating funds, and the same thing on line 19. We eliminate the phrase for current operations of the department, just so by eliminating the phrase we exempted the option or the alternative to be able to take that money where they can and not interfere with operations, so I appreciate your support of the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Glazier. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would thank the gentleman for sponsoring the amendment. I think it creates the possibility and I urge everybody to support it. I thank the Chair for considering the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further questions on the amendment. If not, all those in favor please signify by saying aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, no. The ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. The other two amendments are new to this bill so what we can do at this point is the other sections that we haven't touched on yet in the bill, for staff if there are any questions about the other sections in the bill before we move on to the final two amendments that are in possession of the chair. Are there any questions for staff? Representative Pittman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I understand we're asked about the other parts of the bill before we get those amendments, right? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The thing I was wondering about is some of the funding for ASRC. They have made movement to bring Dr. Sanders, [??] and Dr. Sanders-Milgram to come and speak to them. I understand is they're planning on March 16th and there was some concern about funding for them coming. Would the finds be appropriated here be sufficient to include that? I was just wondering does anybody know? Would staff know or does anybody know if it's going to be sufficient to include that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] If staff can respond to that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Chairman. Representative Pittman, I'm not aware of what the costs might be associated with bringing those individuals, but should this bill pass in some form I would suspect that $275,000 would be sufficient to first meet the requirements of the bill which says essentially that DOE needs to be compensated for the [??] to be somewhere less than $30,000 or that amount, leaving the remaining operating budget to deal with the travel of those speakers and others and I don't see anything here that would seem to [??] that

Prohibition of, of expenditures for them to come for either of us. Other questions? All right. We will move on to amendment number two. It's on your desk offered by the chair and the effect of this amendment, this addresses the economic development partnership board and this, the effect of this amendment is just to simply allow an individual who may have been appointed to another board or commission in state government to be considered for the Economic Development Partnership Board and the reason for that is that we may have other individuals on other boards that for the sake of breaking down silos and sharing information, making sure we're pulling in key people and with the broader implications of the Economic Development Partnership Board, those individuals would be potentially eligible to serve on that board. So, for example, someone on the Community College Board could potentially be appointed to the Economic Development Partnership Board. That's the effect of this amendment. I know of no opposition but I'd be happy to entertain any questions from members of the committee. Seeing none, all those in favor of the amendment, please signify by saying aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, no. They ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to. The last amendment that we had in possession of the chair is an amendment offered by Chairman Lambeth, amendment number one, and Representative Lambeth I recognize you to explain the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This amendment adds a section as the Chairman said to address the issues with the Health Information Exchange, and I know you're probably all aware of the Health Information Exchange that was budgeted in the current year budget but no funds have been released to this point. We had a meeting with our colleagues in the Senate last week recognizing that that's gonna be an important part of any discussions on Medicaid reform and there are several things that we need to do. Number one is we need to pay our bills going forward, so section nine you will see that we will release the $2 million. The critical piece is on the second page, line 7-17 where it authorizes the agency to pay for the software vendor February through the end of June, the payroll costs. These are costs that are being incurred and we need to release those funds to be able to cover those costs. There are two important dates in here. We've asked the agency to come back to us by May 1 so that we can incorporate into the budget appropriate funding for the HIE in this next year's budget and then we actually need to develop a longer-range plan for the HIE. Where do want it to be? Where do we want it to go? What do we want it to do to support our Medicaid reform plans? And so the agency will by September 1 provide us additional information to be able to help determine the best organizational structure for the HIE, and I'm more than happy to entertain any questions. We have reviewed this with the Senate and it is something we're doing together. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Insko. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members, I'm really glad to see this amendment. This has been in the works for a long time and this is really just enabling language to let us do what we need to do and have been planning to do, so it's a good amendment. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Are there other questions or comments on the amendment? If not, all those in favor of the amendment please signify by saying aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed no. The ayes have it and the amendment is agreed to and if you will hold for just one moment. The Chair is not in possession of any further amendments at this time. Any, before we take the motion, any further amendments, comments, questions. If not, Chairman Johnson is recognized for an amendment. I mean, excuse me, for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I move that a favorable report to the Senate Bill 14 as amended by amendments 1, 2, 3 and four and that the adopted amendments to be rolled into a committee substitute. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And staff to make any technical adjustments. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I did say that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You did? Okay, you said that. Alright, good.

You have heard the amendment. Further discussion, further debate? If not, all those in favor of the motion please signify by saying aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed no. The ayes have it. The motion is agreed to and the committee is adjourned. Thank you.