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State Government
Cooper Signs Disaster Recovery Bill PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 19 September 2019 09:48
 Governor Cooper signed the following bills into law: 
 
* Senate Bill 118: Prison Safety/ TANF State Plan/ Clarifications 
* Senate Bill 429: Disaster Recovery – 2019 Budget Provisions   
* House Bill 29: Standing Up for Rape Victims Act of 2019 
* House Bill 75: School Safety Funds, Programs, and Reports 
* Senate Bill 458: PTS Day/ Cardiac Task Force/ Titus’s Law/ Data 
 
Gov. Cooper shared the following comment on Senate Bill 429: 
 
"As we push for federal changes to streamline disaster recovery money coming from Washington, our state disaster funding is more important than ever. We know there will continue to be needs, and we will keep working hard to get help to survivors."
 
Governor Signs Bills Providing Raises For Many State Employees; Vetoes Medicaid Transformation PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 17 September 2019 09:09

Gov.Roy Cooper signed the following bills into law:

*     House Bill 609: Salary Increase/ Adult Correctional Employees

*     House Bill 226: Pay Increases/ State Employees

*     House Bill 126: Pay Increases/ State Highway Patrol

*     House Bill 554: Funeral Practice Licensure Tech. Corrections

*     House Bill 777: Increases/ SBI & ALE

Gov. Cooper shared the following comment on House Bill 226:

"We appreciate our hardworking state employees across North Carolina. However, Republicans are insisting that teachers get a smaller pay raise than other state employees. This hurts our efforts to attract and keep highly qualified teachers in every classroom. I urge Republican legislators to pass a pay raise that doesn't shortchange teachers. In addition, this bill provides for a pay raise for the Governor. I have today donated the pay raise for the year in the amount of $3,682 to Donors Choose which provides funds to teachers directly in the classroom with supplies and other needs."

Gov. Cooper also vetoed the following bill:

*     House Bill 555: Medicaid Transformation Implementation

Gov. Cooper shared the following comment on House Bill 555:

"Passing mini-funding bills that simply divvy up the vetoed Republican budget is a tactic to avoid a comprehensive budget that provides for health care and other important needs like education. Health care is an area where North Carolina needs us to do more, and to do it comprehensively."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 September 2019 09:12
 
NC Opioid Overdose Deaths Drop for First Time in 5 Years PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 17 September 2019 08:49

Emergency Department Visits Also Show Nearly 10% Decrease

For the first time in five years the number of unintentional opioid-related overdose deaths among North Carolina residents has fallen. According to preliminary data collected by the NC Department of Health and Human Services, unintentional opioid-related overdose deaths decreased by 5 percent in 2018. In 2017, deaths increased 34 percent from the year before.

These figures are consistent with the decreasing number of emergency department visits for opioid-related overdoses which declined nearly 10 percent from 2017 to 2018. The decrease reflects a preliminary estimate of 1,785 deaths in 2018 compared with 1,884 in 2017.

 “This is a major milestone for North Carolina but the figures show we have much more work to do to keep people healthy and alive," Cooper said. "Medicaid Expansion is the easiest and most effective step our state can take to continue our fight against this deadly disease."

Governor Cooper signed the Opioid Epidemic Response Act into law in July 2019. This law removes the ban on use of state funds to purchase syringe exchange program supplies, decriminalizes the possession of fentanyl tests strips that allow people to test drugs for dangerous contaminants, and increases access to office-based opioid treatment.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Opioid Dashboard tracks progress toward five overarching goals: reducing deaths, reducing oversupply of prescription opioids, reducing drug diversion and illicit drug flow, increasing naloxone access and increasing access to treatment and recovery services.

While the numbers have declined for prescription opioids, the data captured as part of the state’s Opioid Action Plan continues to show that most deaths and emergency department visits continue to be due to illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl.

 “Opioid overdose deaths and emergency department visits are two key metrics set forth in our Opioid Action Plan, and efforts to improve outcomes in those areas are clearly showing a positive impact,” said DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen MD. “While this is a significant achievement, we know far too many North Carolina families are still suffering. We must continue to focus on prevention, reducing harm and connecting people to care.”

Today’s announcement builds on the progress shared at the state’s second Opioid Summit held in June 2019. From 2017 to 2019, opioid dispensing decreased by 24 percent; prescriptions for drugs used to treat opioid use disorders increased by 15% percent, and opioid use disorder treatment for uninsured and Medicaid beneficiaries increased by 20%.

The DHHS launched an updated Opioid Action Plan 2.0 at the summit to build on the state’s progress. This updated plan highlights the need for collaborations between local health departments, law enforcement, counties, non-profits and other organizations to identify impactful, feasible strategies to reduce opioid overdoses, increase access to treatment, and continue to gain more ground in the opioid crisis.

North Carolina’s DHHS has received over $75 million to date in federal funding for prevention and to increase treatment capacity across the state. Other efforts aimed at reducing opioid-related deaths include:

*     DHHS launched an initiative to train medical residents, physician assistant, and nurse practitioners in providing office-based opioid treatment, reaching over 700 providers to date.

*     In collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office, DHHS participated in the More Powerful NC public education campaign to raise awareness about the opioid overdose epidemic and empower North Carolinians to take action.

*     DHHS launched a new medication-assisted treatment program pilot with the Department of Public Safety to reduce overdose-related deaths among people who are re-entering communities upon leaving prison.

*     DHHS awarded funding to 34 communities to implement post-overdose response teams, employ certified peer support specialists, implement safer syringe programs and implement programs and services for justice-involved populations.

*     DHHS funded the NC Healthcare Association to implement an Emergency Department Peer Support Program to connect patients presenting with opioid overdose to treatment, recovery, and harm reduction supports, which has resulted in a decrease in emergency departments return visits and hospitalizations.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 September 2019 08:51
 
377 Jobs Coming To Durham County PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Donna Martinez   
Friday, 13 September 2019 09:18

Policygenius, a fast-growing online insurance platform, will locate a new technical and operations center in Durham County, creating at least 377 jobs over the next five years.The company will invest nearly $6 million in Durham.

"Policygenius joins a growing number of high-tech firms choosing the Research Triangle because of North Carolina’s ability to meet their talent needs. Our high-tech workforce continues to be a big reason for our state’s growth,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

Policygenius, founded in 2014 with headquarters in New York City, is an independent insurance broker with an online platform that helps people shop and compare insurance plans from a range of providers.The company offers a variety of insurance products, including life, homeowners, and disability insurance. The company is considered an early pioneer in an industry segment know as ‘insuretech,’ and has attracted notice for its business and workplace innovations. In May of this year, Inc. magazine named the company to its list of 2019 Best Workplaces, and in June Ernst & Young named company co-founder Jennifer Fitzgerald its 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year for the New York region.

“Being an up-and-coming tech hub, North Carolina was a logical choice for us,” said Jennifer Fitzgerald, CEO and co-founder of Policygenius. “We’re proud to bring our second headquarters here. The strong support of the state is critical for the success of businesses like ours and we’re excited for what’s to come.”

“North Carolina is a place that attracts talent,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “The innovators at Policygenius recognize the advantages available here, from our workforce to our friendly business climate, and they’re confident we’re the right place to accelerate the growth of their company.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. (EDPNC) led the state’s support for the company’s decision.

Although wages will vary depending on position, the average salary for all the new positions will reach $72,216. The current average wage in Durham County is $68,731.

Policygenius’ project in North Carolina will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by nearly $1.6 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $4,997,250, spread over 12 years. State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.

Because Policygenius chose to locate in Durham County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 3, the company’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $1,665,750 into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business. Even when new jobs are created in a Tier 3 county such as Durham, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state.

“We welcome Policygenius to Durham and the Research Triangle,” said N.C. Senator Floyd McKissick. “Each time a company of this caliber chooses to locate here, it confirms North Carolina’s leadership in the information technology industry.”

“Many people from across our community worked hard to attract this growing company,” said N.C. Representative MaryAnn Black. “We all stand together in our commitment to help Policygenius thrive in Durham.”

Partners on this project with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the EDPNC include: the North Carolina Community College System, Durham County, and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.

 

 
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