State budget passes with bipartisan input and support

After a series of strong bipartisan votes in the Senate and House, Governor Cooper signed a new $25.9 B budget into law on November 18. The process used to reach this compromise budget was historic. House and Senate Democrats and Republicans–and Governor Cooper–worked on the conference report together over many weeks. As is true of compromise, everyone involved in its creation and passage agreed that no one got everything they wanted. There are areas of the budget that I disagree with, but the harm created by not having a comprehensive budget for a second biennium was simply unpalatable to me. While it’s not feasible to detail the contents of a 627 page bill, these are some top-line reasons I supported the budget:
  • Teacher and state employee salaries increased by 5% over two years
  • Pay for non-certified school personnel increased to $15/hour
  • Child income tax deduction increased to $500 per child
  • Personal income tax lowered to 3.99% over six years
  • State income tax on military pensions eliminated, beginning 2021 tax year
  • Over $6 B invested in infrastructure, including $800 M in school construction
  • Investment of over $1B in broadband expansion
  • Medicaid coverage for new mothers extended for 12 months after delivery

Even with these and other positives, this was not an easy vote. There are short and long-term problems with the budget. It excludes Wake (and 4 other counties) from a new $100 M fund for teacher pay supplements, funds millions in pork projects, and does not expand health insurance coverage for 600,000 working adults–30,000 of whom are veterans.  It limits the Governor’s emergency authority and prohibits the Attorney General from settling lawsuits. The constitutionality of these two provisions will no doubt be challenged in the courts.

The most troubling part of the budget is a gradual phase-out of the corporate income tax beginning in 2025 that could short-change future investments in public education and other priorities by the end of the decade. It’s important to note that these corporate tax cuts won’t begin to go into effect for another four years, giving future legislatures an opportunity to ‘course correct’ if our economy weakens.

Around the district 

This fall I’ve enjoyed getting to know new Apex Town Manager Catherine Crosby and new Apex Police Chief Jason Armstrong over coffee at Common Grounds on Salem Street. They each have a wealth of relevant experience and exude passion for their work.

I’ve also had the chance to work alongside local elected officials and Habitat for Humanity volunteers to frame a new home in Cary; participate in the annual Kiran Walk to support Asian Indian women who suffer from domestic violence; attend the groundbreaking ceremony for a new building at the SV Temple; and travel to Memphis to receive a 2021 Elected Women of Excellence Award from the National Foundation for Women Legislators. Looking ahead to December, I’ll be riding with Rep. Julie von Haefen in the Apex Christmas parade.

I wish you and your family good health and time for reflection on the many blessings we all share. Thank you for your support of our community and for your communications with me.

Yours in service,

Gale

Spring melts into summer at the General Assembly

May 14 was the ‘crossover deadline’ for House and Senate bills to pass in their chamber, keeping them eligible for action during the remainder of the session. While there are a few exceptions (bills on elections, redistricting, constitutional amendments and appointments), legislators are always acutely aware of this ticking clock, making the final days before ‘crossover’ frenetic and long.

After this milestone, budget negotiations began in earnest. The first step was an agreement between House and Senate leadership on a spending limit: $25.7 B in the first year and $26.6 B in year two (this negotiation took several weeks longer than usual). On June 21 the Senate released its budget, and the second of 2 recorded votes was taken on June 25. The budget bill now goes to the House for consideration. 

Total spending cannot change in the House version of the budget, but funding levels for specific programs surely will. The House is expected to take its 2 budget votes by mid-July. I hope to see a House budget that invests wisely in public education, health care, small business, infrastructure (including high-speed internet; water & sewer projects; K-12, community college and university capital projects) and that includes tax policy to help low and middle income families.        

Here’s what else happened in the 6 weeks since crossover.       

Around the district

Great visit at Horton's Creek Elementary

These 4th graders greeted me on my May 21 visit to Hortons Creek Elementary School. While there I learned a lot about resilience, creativity, and the numerous pivots made by this school community since March 2020. In addition to a walkabout with principal Sandy Chambers and observation of traditional and hybrid classroom teaching, I participated in a group discussion with teachers, PTA representatives, the principal and assistant principal. I heard about the difference between “learning loss” and the more descriptive “unfinished learning” experienced by these students as observed by their teachers and parents. Like all of us, everyone at Hortons Creek looks forward to the return of  ‘normal’, but they are also committed to using what they’ve learned about new efficiencies and the utility of technology. Thanks to 4th grade teacher Laura Abraham for the invitation to return to Hortons Creek, my third visit since the school opened in August 2017.  Go Hawks!  

Along with advocates from Cary and Apex, on June 5 I participated in a walk to spotlight deaths from gun violence. I was joined by Representatives James Roberson, Julie von Haefen, Marcia Morey and Senator Natalie Murdock.  Thanks to Moms Demand Action for organizing the event and to Trophy Brewing & Pizza for providing food and cold beverages.    

Each year the Cary Chamber invites me to speak about state government and public service at the final meeting of Leadership Cary. One of my favorite Chamber events, this is a great opportunity to hear what’s ‘top of mind’ for emerging community leaders. It was also an invigorating way to start my day on June 15.

Visionary is the word that stuck with me throughout the June 26 groundbreaking for Phase 2 of the Downtown Cary Park. After 2 tenacious decades of Council leadership, from land acquisition to funding innovative design, this destination park will open in summer 2023.   

Meanwhile, down on Jones Street

Several of my bills made ‘crossover’ and await action in the Senate

HB 93, ensures patients are offered education about the availability and use of opioid antagonist drugs when they are given a prescription for opioids.   

HB 96, increases access to health care by allowing pharmacists to administer a greater variety of injectable drugs. There are 20 NC counties without a single primary care provider, but each of our counties has at least one pharmacy.  

HB 178, requires patient access to accurate prescription drug benefit cost information. 

HB 322, a local bill that allows Cary to stop collecting local ABC license fees. The idea for this bill to assist local businesses came from the town.       

HB 524, guarantees access to oral chemotherapy treatment during a pandemic (when oral therapy is an appropriate treatment option). 

Two of my bills soon to be law 

HB 272, lowers the state’s acceptable blood lead level, protecting more children from impaired brain development and other adverse health impacts of childhood lead exposure. It went to Governor Cooper on June 23.

HB 629, clarifies a portion of the STOP Act, a 2017 law to decrease opioid addiction and overdose deaths. It went to Governor Cooper on June 23. 

Organ donation made easier 

As cosponsor of the House companion to SB 135, Improve Anatomical Gift Donation Process, I was  present as Governor Cooper signed the bill into law June 14. I’ve been a registered organ/tissue donor since 21 and a bone marrow donor since my 30’s. My cousin’s life was forever changed by a kidney transplant from a living donor 5 years ago. As a legislator and as a nurse practitioner, it is my hope this law will increase the number of individuals receiving life-saving and life-changing transplants.      

Delayed census impacts municipal elections 

Although the 2020 census count is complete, county and city level results won’t be available until fall due to pandemic delays. In about 10% of North Carolina’s 500 municipalities, local odd-year elections include district representatives elected by voters who live in the same district.  Whether elected by district or at-large, districts must be drawn containing an equal number of individuals  (plus/minus 5% is the constitutionally allowable variation).

Legislators worked with the NC League of Municipalities and other stakeholders to devise a solution to that works for most affected municipalities. The final bipartisan product, SB 722, went to Governor Cooper on June 16.        

Cary’s twist

Four of 7 Cary Town Council members are District representatives elected only by District voters. Recognizing early on that census numbers would be delayed and wishing to avoid negative impacts of a delayed election, last fall the Town hired a private demographer to get an accurate population number. With this data, town staff drew new districts using redistricting criteria used in the past. Based on months of work, Cary is prepared to hold its October election as scheduled rather than delay it to Spring 2022 (the gist of SB 722). Representative Allison Dahle (a vice-chair of the Election Law & Campaign Finance Reform committee) and I are working with legislative leadership and Town staff on a legislative fix that allows Cary to hold its election on schedule.    

Shout-Out to Morrisville 

First awarded in 1949 by the National Civic League, the All-American City Award recognizes communities that leverage civic engagement, collaboration, innovation and inclusiveness to address local issues. Congratulations to the citizens, Council and staff of Morrisville for recently being named a 2021 All-American City!  

Thanks for staying in touch

I welcome your input and feedback. Reach me at gale.adcock@ncleg.gov or 919-733-5602. My Legislative Assistant Suzanne Smith can assist you and can also connect you to other state government agencies as needed. Wake County has many COVID-19 vaccine resources available, so if you need information about how to get a shot, please give us a call. Stay safe out there.

Yours in service,

Gale

 

RSVP to the Wake County Listening Tour

Join me & other Wake state House reps on a Listening Tour this Thurs 7/25—hear about the current legislative session, ask questions, and give feedback!

RSVP Here: http://bit.ly/WakeRepsTour

Wake Co Listening Tour

 

Please note: The NC House does not typically convene on Thursday evening. However, if the NC House is called into session to vote on legislation, we will change the date and/or time of the Listening Tour event. Submitting your RSVP will allow us to contact you in the event of any changes.

North Carolina Telephone Town Hall on Medicaid Expansion

You Are Invited to a Tele-Town Hall on February 5

I want to hear your thoughts on health care issues in the legislature. Register and join the Telephone Town Hall Meeting sponsored by The State Innovation Exchange. Share your ideas on Tuesday, February 5th, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm EST.

Once you’ve signed up, just answer your phone at 6:00pm on Tuesday, Feb 5

By joining the call, you will be able to connect directly with your representatives, and learn about how they are fighting for families and the health of residents in North Carolina.

You will be able to ask questions, and give valuable feedback by answering live polling questions during our discussion about about expanding Medicaid, and how this will help to provide affordable healthcare to more North Carolinians.

I will be on the call, joined by Senator Ben Clark (Cumberland County), Representative Carla Cunningham (Mecklenburg County), and Senator Gladys Robinson (Guilford County).

Sign Up for the Telephone Town Hall on North Carolina Medicaid Expansion

 

Let’s Get Moving!

On October 10, National Walk and Bike to School Day, Cary Mayor Pro-Tem Lori Bush and I enjoyed walking with PTA parent Marianne Weant and her 6 year old daughter to Davis Drive Elementary School.  Read more

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Wake County Habitat for Humanity sponsored an “Elected Officials Build” event on Saturday, October 13 in southeast Raleigh. Read more

Dancing with the Stars

The annual Diwali Festival was held at Cary’s beautiful Koka Booth Amphitheater on October 13. As always the event was filled with exceptionally talented local, state and international artists showcasing Indian dances, music and songs of all genres. And yes, there was delicious food as well. Read more

Election Night 2018

After a long day of working the polls from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in weather that alternated between raining a little and simply pouring, a tired by still enthusiastic group of volunteers joined me and my husband Kevin at our home for hot food, cool beverages and a few hours of watching election results trickle in.  Read more

Rep. Adcock Appointed to State Health Council

Representative Adcock, appointed to the State Health Coordinating Council by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, being sworn in by Republican House Speaker Tim Moore. Also pictured Rep. Brian Turner, Adcock’s Buncombe county seat mate holding the Bible for the oath

Rep. Adcock Awarded NC Nurses Association 2017 Legislator of the Year Award

Raleigh, NC – The NC Nurses Association awarded Rep. Adcock a 2017 Legislator of the Year Award in recognition of successful passage of a bill authorizing NPs, PAs and CNMs to sign handicap placards and for her leadership as a primary sponsor of legislation establishing APRN full practice authority. Adcock was NCNA president 1989-91. Read more