Newsletter from the office of Representative Mary Belk.
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Governor Cooper and the First Lady, Kristen, welcomed the Belk family to the Governor's Mansion on the first day of the 2019 Long Session.


Last week marked the beginning of our working sessions for the 2019-2020 biennium in Raleigh, and I am excited to get back to work. Now that I’ve been here for a couple of years, I’m comfortable with the legislative process, even when I wish it would work faster. I’m grateful to my constituents for giving me the chance to return to work on their behalf. Some of my ideas from last biennium, like the Opioid Advance Medical Directive, deserve champions who will see them through to the end. 

The Survivor Act described below is a great example of legislation that I worked on that couldn’t quite make it over the finish line last biennium, so it’s satisfying to see a bipartisan draft bill come out so early this year. We debated the issue of funding for the SAECK backlog for two years in my appropriations sub-committee, but could not come to a mutual understanding. We can only hope the larger budget negotiations go so smoothly later this year.

I’ve also got a couple of new ideas for changes that were suggested by constituent issues my office received. One involves the rules around state pension plan participation for public employees who are designated part-time, but work full-time hours in a given year. I’d like to automatically give them the option to participate in the pension plan if they can make the employee contribution. Another involves the amount of time a health insurer must give an individual plan customer to make late payments before cancelling their insurance. I’d like them to have the same leeway as customers on the Affordable Health Care Act marketplaces.

Your calls, emails, and letters are the best way for me to hear about what’s happening and learn about good ideas to put before the legislature. I’m looking forward to the next two years working together to make District 88 a better place to live for all of us.
Attorney General Stein welcomed our team of victims advocates, law enforcement professionals, and legislators to the NCDOJ to introduce the Survivor Act.


Last week, I was proud to stand with Attorney General Josh Stein and my fellow Representatives Boles, Richardson, and Smith to introduce the Survivor Act. This bill represents the fulfillment of a promise to fund the testing of all Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits in North Carolina that could be used to identify perpetrators of sexual violence through the national DNA database (CODIS). You can find HB29 HERE.

This bill is particularly meaningful for me because I served on the Justice and Public Safety Appropriations sub-committee from 2017-2018 and was a fierce advocate for additional state  funding of this project. Between the Attorney General’s successful application for one time federal grant funds and the Survivor Act’s commitment to funding both one-time testing costs and recurring employee costs for the state lab, we are building a system that will not create future backlogs.

I am proud that the new funding should be sufficient to categorize, catalog, and test the 15,000 untested kits held at local law enforcement agencies throughout the State. Already, testing of such kits in the Fayetteville area has let to the arrest of two serial rapists. What is really compelling about the Survivor Act, is that it sets up very specific policies and procedures for the amount of time that can elapse before police send kits to the lab, how kits that do not ‘qualify’ for testing are recorded and cataloged, and how much time police have to report back when they are informed about a DNA ‘hit’ that identifies a suspect in one of their cases.

These new policies, combined with the State-wide tracking SAECK system implemented by the Attorney General plus one-time funding for backlog testing, represent a new, positive direction for North Carolina law enforcement and investigations of sexual assault. 

Next, I hope we can have conversations about getting the most up-to-date training for our investigators, based on current understandings of the psychology of sexual assault victims. We can not expect technology to take the place of professional investigators equipped with a well-researched understanding of the human condition in such extreme situations.


Every Democrat in the NC House has signed on to HB5, a bill that would accept Medicaid Expansion as made available under the Affordable Care Act and cover the NC portion of the cost with a service charge on NC healthcare providers. Hospital and doctor groups across the State support the initiative, despite the service charge, because they know Medicaid Expansion will allow them to treat more patients at a lower cost over time. How do they know that? They have seen the studies that show Medicaid expansion works.

Unfortunately, we are still the minority party in the legislature. We need your help to make Medicaid expansion a reality. We need every Republican Representative and Senator in the NCGA to hear the positive case for closing the coverage gap. You can send them letters. You can send them emails. You can call their offices. You can use your social media platforms to spread the #CloseTheGapNC message for Medicaid Expansion. Every little bit will help.

Keep an eye on my @BelkRep Twitter feed in the coming weeks for some social media friendly versions of the facts and figures from those reports.
The Charlotte City Council took time out of their retreat to break bread with the Mecklenburg delegation when they were in town last month. 


My committee assignments have changed a bit this year, but I’ve returned to Transportation and Appropriations. I’m looking forward to the exchange of ideas on building a 21st century infrastructure for Mecklenburg and the surrounding counties.

Here are my 2019-2020 committee assignments:

The list of important issues facing lawmakers is long, so how we prioritize them determines what gets accomplished. The Appropriations Committee is about setting priorities. It is where lawmakers spend $24 billion of taxpayer money.  Every politician talks about how they support public schools, healthcare, and the economy.  The budget is where the real proof lies. Now that Democrats have the numbers to sustain Governor Cooper's veto, we will be pushing for some of our priorities, like Medicaid Expansion, to get moved up the list this year. 

I am excited to serve on Appropriations so I can vote to fund investments in the future of our district: meaningful pay raises for all teachers and school employees, Medicaid expansion to cover more folks and lower costs for the rest of us, state employee pay raises, and job creation infrastructure like regional transit projects.  

Appropriations, Health and Human Services
Health and Human Services is one of the largest areas of the State budget. It is where investments are made in Medicaid, health care access, public health, child development, aging services, mental health, and rehabilitation services of all kinds.  I am committed to working hard to fund these policy initiatives that impact the lives of nearly every NC citizen.

North Carolina was once known as the “Good Roads State” and that was a great reputation to have to grow economic investment in our State. Fast-forward and now roads are just one important puzzle piece as we strive to build a more comprehensive transportation network involving trains, buses, planes, ferries, bicycles, scooters, and anything else that moves people. Transportation is an area ripe for bipartisan agreement, when Republicans and Democrats work together, share ideas, and move our State into the future. I am looking forward to rolling our sleeves up!

Regulatory Reform
Regulations attempt to strike the right balance between the flexibility needed to fuel the economic development engine and protections such as workers’ health and safety, and environmental conservation. On this committee, I will work to balance these competing pressures in such a way that makes North Carolina the best place in America to live and raise a family, grow a business, and build security.

The Judiciary Committee typically hears some of the most interesting and controversial bills involving a variety of topics. Serving on this committee will provide an opportunity to develop and refine criminal laws, consumer protections, laws impacting marriage and other domestic situations, the judicial system, and much more.


Domestic Violence Hotline: If you or someone you know is trapped in a domestic violence or partner abuse situation, please call Safe Alliance at 704-332-2513 and they can help you.

Property Tax values and histories in Mecklenburg County can be searched on this site that includes links to Polaris and information about the reassessments that occurred in 2011. You can find more detailed information on real estate values on the Mecklenburg Modria site. 

Charlotte 311 is your connection to city services, including Animal Control, Street Maintenance, Bulky Trash Pick-up, Parking Enforcement, and all other non-police related matters. Dial 311 or visit their website to fill out a form and have your issue addressed as soon as possible.    

Voter Information: You can find your current information on the NC Voter Lookup page. You can also find interactive versions of the new House & Senate maps HERE.   
Don’t forget! Visit today to see if you have unclaimed property under the supervision of the NC Treasurer’s office.

My office is here to help you navigate any issues you may have with state services. Please call myself or my legislative assistant, Ralph Belk, at 919-733-5607 or email me at with any questions or concerns
Mecklenburg Democrats braved the chilly rain to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Charlotte parade on January 19th.


Energized Democrats push for North Carolina Medicaid expansion
Associated Press

Democrats start legislative session by calling for expanded Medicaid
North Carolina Health News

Democrats call for straight-up Medicaid expansion

Will N.C. expand Medicaid? Democrats’ bills that would make up to 670,000 more people eligible for the health care program?
Winston-Salem Journal

Bill aims to expand Medicaid
Greenville Daily Reflector

Medicaid Works in North Carolina
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Democratic And Republican Agendas Differ As NCGA Starts Long Session

Raises? Supplies? More jobs? What teachers and state workers want in NC budget talks
The News & Observer

Eastern NC Towns Cope With Water And Sewer Challenges After Florence
Public Radio East

Northeastern NC Farmers Celebrate Soybean
Coastal Review Online

Editorial: Fix N.C. public schools' lack of teacher diversity, turnover now
Capital Broadcasting Company

'We’re done': Shutdown strikes small, midsize and rural transit (national article on Cape Fear regional transit) Politico

School lunches' fed funding uncertain after March
Elizabeth City Daily Advance

As shutdown lingers, unemployment insurance claims for N.C.’s federal workers in holding pattern
NC Policy Watch

Gov. Cooper And His Administration Visit Eastern NC
Public Radio East

Governor Cooper: Eastern NC is open for tourism and business
New Bern Sun Journal

Public School Forum releases top education priorities at annual breakfast

NC lawmakers should stop trying to ‘discredit’ and ‘devalue’ public schools, group says
The News & Observer
Mecklenburg County NC House Districts Effective for the 2018 Election 
Copyright © 2019 Representative Mary Belk, All rights reserved.

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