@NCCapitol

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Tillis: call special session on group homes

Posted November 30, 2012

House Speaker Thom Tillis says the legislature needs to meet in order to fix a problem with funding for group homes that care for the mentally ill and other disabled people. 

"While we continue to work toward long-term solutions, it is time to address the short-term funding issue that could potentially force our most vulnerable citizens out of their homes at the end of this year. The House of Representatives stands ready to fix this problem in a special session, and I encourage the Governor to call us back to Raleigh to do the right thing for our citizens," Tillis said in an e-mail Friday morning.

The problem has to do with a quirk written into this year's budget. It provided $40 million to help nursing homes and adult care facilities respond to a transition in how funding for disabled people works. But group homes, less formal settings, were not given access to the same funding.

The oversight leaves 2,000 people in group homes statewide with no help and potentially out on the street on Jan. 1. 

Lawmakers such as Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, have said that Perdue should have been able to fix the problem on her own. But Perdue has said she is bound by restrictions placed into the budget law by Republicans that keep her from shifting around the needed funding.

"Speaker Tillis feels, as does Rep. Dollar, that rather than spend any more time assigning blame or parsing words, it’s time to fix this problem and provide certainty to the individuals and families that may be affected," said Tillis spokesman Jordan Shaw.

Brandon Greife, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, said the Senate leader just received Tillis' release and did not yet have a comment. A spokeswoman for Gov. Bev Perdue said she planned to respond to Tillis' request this morning but could not say if the governor would call a special session.

The legislature could call itself back to work, but the process is cumbersome. The governor can recall legislators by use of a single proclamation. However, Perdue and this General Assembly have had a fraught history with special sessions. Conflicts have arisen with sessions called for one purpose being used to override unrelated vetoes.

"If you should decide to convene a Special Session," Tillis wrote in his official request, "you have my word that no additional matters will be taken up by the House of Representatives. We will act quickly and decisively to protect the residents of mental health and IDD group homes, and the session will end when that action is concluded." 

A Perdue spokeswoman said the governor was still reviewing her options on Friday, but in a statement the Democrat agree with the Republican House speaker about the need for a fix. 

“I appreciate and share the Speaker’s concern for proper funding for residents of group homes," Perdue wrote in an e-mail. "As a result of the General Assembly’s budget, I have been reviewing all possible options to address this important issue including a Special Session. I look forward to working with both the House and the Senate to fix the problem as soon as possible so that hundreds of North Carolinians are not out in the street at the end of the year.”

18 Comments

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  • dixiechick Dec 3, 2012

    I always thought I lived in one of the most progressive areas around where people cared about people. Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if your brain didn't work? Would you be able to live on your own or make a living. Mental illnesses are brain diseases that cause people to have problems with their thinking and behavior. Most can get help and will accept help. With others, part of the illness is not knowing they are ill. So they won't take medicine or take care of themselves unless they are in supervised living homes, i.e. group homes. Mental illness can happen to anyone. it is not about bad parenting or bad character. Think about it. What could be worse than having no control over your actions because of a brain disease.

    Please think about how devastating these diseases are for the person and their families. Insurance doesn't cover the services that are needed. The illnesses leave families destitute and hopeless.

  • catgirl Dec 2, 2012

    'Frankly, no political party has ever done much for those in the lowest economic rungs of the U.S. ladder and for the disabled. No one wants group homes in their neighborhoods. When deinstitutionalization was taking place, I didn't hear anyone ask "just where in their communities will these patients go?" Not a single group should get on their "high horse" regarding their treatment of the disenfranchised. This "I'm better than you" talk is disgusting.''

    Uh..Didn't the Dems just pick up a group of inmates from a group home and "help" them vote in the last election? Their family members said they didn't even KNOW an election was going on, but the good hearted Dems wanted to make sure they voted. The Dems don't let anyone not vote, as long as they vote for THEM...

  • jjlbur Nov 30, 2012

    I SEE A LOT OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE GROUP HOMES, IF THE FOLKS ON WELFARE HAD TO GO THROUGH AUDITS AND PERMITS TO HAVE A HOME, YOU WOULD SEE ABOUT HALF NOT GET ANY HELP, AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF ILL PEOPLE STILL AT HOME, BUT WHERE WILL THEY GO WHEN THE PARENTS DIE? THE GOV. HAS TO STEP IN. WOULD YOU WANT A FAMILY MEMBER THAT NEEDS 24 HR CARE LIVING WITH YOU?

  • WooHoo2You Nov 30, 2012

    Some of the mentally ill could be cared for by family members.-Danny22

    I bet *some* could be…but the rest?

  • Half Red Half Blue Nov 30, 2012

    Who cares if 85 year old grandma who can't walk is forced to live on the streets? I know I do. You don't want to help seniors and mentally ill? Fine. But I bet you won't go to a nursing or group home to tell it to them face to face.

  • Danny22 Nov 30, 2012

    Some of the mentally ill could be cared for by family members.

  • WooHoo2You Nov 30, 2012

    It is Democrats that do not care. They never have and they never will. If they did, they would support policies that helps get people out of poverty instead of doing everything possible to keep them there and wherever they can add to the numbers-whatelseisnew

    What “policies” has the GOP come up with to get MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY DISABLED people “out of poverty?” Do they have some magic healing machine they have been hiding from the masses?

    Lord….

  • storchheim Nov 30, 2012

    What is it going to take for DHHS to pin this down? Time for another housecleaning, and don't stop at upper and middle management.

  • storchheim Nov 30, 2012

    "REPUBLICANS don't care about poor disabled people. Never have, never will."

    It is Democrats that do not care. They never have and they never will. If they did, they would support policies that helps get people out of poverty instead of doing everything possible to keep them there and wherever they can add to the numbers. " whatelse

    True. What do you think generations - at least 3 - of people living in idleness, ignorance, and without benefit of good nutrition or basic skills needed to run a household (meaning how to balance a checkbook, what insurance is and is not for, how to budget, comparison shopping) will do to Hom(er) sapiens? We're not meant to live like that. I believe this lowers IQ over time, but I'm sure it destroys ambition, curiosity and JOY.

  • durhamhokie Nov 30, 2012

    @ndadszucs haha It's a Trap!! Thanks Admiral Ackbar!

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