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Carolina Journal Radio No. 785: Treasurer targets proposed bond, pension reforms

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
July 17, 2018 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 785: Treasurer targets proposed bond, pension reforms

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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July 17, 2018 12:00 am

State Treasurer Dale Folwell has made headlines in recent weeks. He’s proposed that any new statewide bond package should face a voter referendum. He’s working to help reduce State Health Plan costs. He’s advocating pension reforms related to spiking and government workers convicted of crimes. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, analyzes Folwell’s high-profile activity. No one knows all of the crimes created in North Carolina. Not even the woman who literally wrote the state’s book on criminal law. Jessica Smith, professor of public law and government at the UNC School of Government, says hundreds of crimes are scattered across more than 140 chapters of the N.C. General Statutes. Plus local governments and licensing boards have authority to create even more crimes. Smith explained during a recent presentation for the John Locke Foundation why she’s interested in a complete rewrite of the state criminal code. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has called on the Republican-led General Assembly to raise teacher pay. During a recent news conference, Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore responded that they’ve already planned average 6.2 percent teacher pay raises for the new budget year that starts in July. Berger and Moore also explained their recent efforts to boost overall education spending. The transition from Barack Obama’s presidential administration to one led by Donald Trump has led to major changes in a number of federal government policies. Scott Bullock, president and general counsel at the Institute for Justice, has been monitoring changes in the federal government’s approach to property rights. Bullock sees some good news from the Trump administration, along with some areas in which Obama’s policy was preferable. The lack of easily accessible medical services serves as no roadblock to the thousands of motorcyclists who head to Graham County every year to tackle the Tail of the Dragon mountain pass. Dan Way, Carolina Journal associate editor, recently offered details about the popular motorcycle route and the connection to local health care challenges.

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Frontier ticker attack from the largest city to the smallest and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most public policy events and issues welcome to Carolina Journal radio I'm Ashoka during the next hour, Donna Martinez and I will explore some major issues affecting our state. No one knows how many crimes North Carolina has on its books.

Not even the UNC professor who literally wrote the book on criminal law in the state. That professor explains why she's pushing for a complete rewrite of the state criminal code Gov. Roy Cooper wants state lawmakers to raise public school teacher pay to hear legislative leaders explain how they've addressed that goal. The change from a Barack Obama presidency to a Donald Trump presidency means a different approach to property rights and expert from the Institute for Justice analyzes the change will discuss some of the challenges link to healthcare in remote areas of Western North Carolina.

Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martinez joins us with the Carolina Journal headline when one thinks of the state treasurer's office. It's typically the behind-the-scenes management of the state investments that comes to mind, but Dale Falwell who was elected to the job in 2016 is taking a more public and policy engaged approach to the job. Carolina Journal has been covering the treasurer's activities and Rick Henderson, editor-in-chief joins me now back to the show. First of all, just give us a sense in terms of how they approach the job compared the current treasurer Dale Falwell to our previous set treasurer, Janet Cowell, you were living in North Carolina during our years, Janet Cowell, someone who was perceived to be extremely competent or capable of. She was someone who was formerly in the general assembly is there Falwell was swell and to someone who really was. More typically, the idea of someone who was going to manage the states funds well was thought of really as a money manager sexually and did some policy oriented things that were caused a bit of concern here at the John Locke foundation what she was talking about social investing in things like moving some of the pension funds into things that benefited politically preferred causes rather than just looking at overall returns, but Janet was very much very much low-key as were most of the grindstone for person got high marks for that Dale Falwell came in with a completely different attitude about it. He was very much of a crusader. He sees himself as an advocate for taxpayers and state employees and he someone who is trying to take care of the programs under his under his supervision, say, pension fund, the state health plan and make them not only as efficient as possible, increase returns, but also reduce fraud because essentially without any state treasurer moving thing you assume is that you've got up basically a bond between the people. The state employees and those who are investing in these benefits, to make sure that there delivered properly and that there's no other shenanigans going on but but Dale Wallace really taken this task take part in covering a Carolina Journal I'm some really interesting developments that he's been involved in in the last few weeks. Let's talk first about the state health plan. You mentioned he's in charge of that I he's taking some actions to try to lower premiums for some members of the state health plan tell us what he's doing one thing he's always that he has basically word medical provider rates paid by Blue Cross Blue Shield Carolina had to be cut by 15% because he wants to lower premiums for members and he said he has argued that a number of state employees really can't afford to for the premiums in the health plan right now that they're higher than some comparable stakes nearby at the same time the plan itself is not very well funded and so a lot of it relies on both premiums and annual appropriations with general assembly and what he would like to do is to get on better financial footing and so one way that God by doing that is that he says the heaps is that compared with other states of the health plan is pay more than it should to a medical provider through it pass through Blue Cross Blue Shield seems to be focusing in terms of premiums on top trying to lower the premium for state employees who are on what's called the family plan right exactly and that's one thing about that is that the cost of covering dependence spouses and the like.

Is he PC thinks it's out of line with the others comparable things the private sector and and that all that that part of that is you simply because the state is chosen to pick reimbursement rates that are higher than that he thinks they need to be so. He thinks he could possibly save as much $1 billion over time, but I think talking about something like $300 million a year just for making this will change. He's also speaking out about any potential issuance of debt showing the general assembly and the governor get together and decide that they want to do that.

What is concern about the concern is that the according to the state constitution that issuances for the most part should be handled through the referendum to voters.

These editions of debt have to be approved by taxpayers unless the Gen. assembly makes some sort of special provision and there is a there's a part of the governor's pet Gov. Roy Cooper's budget, which would have $1.9 billion in new school bonds and then also $3 billion transportation bond and there are members of the statehouse which would like to have that transportation bond out there as well and it would be repaid. Transportation bond through the Highway trust fund, which is basically fuel taxes and's vehicle registration fees, and the, the voters would have no say in whether or not this additional $3 billion in debt went out and the treasurer says no, sorry, was not do that if we don't take on additional $3 billion in debt, or any additional debt at this point because we do have condition other outstanding debt. We have the big connective C program, which was passed for a couple years ago I forgot to take on additional debt the voters to have some say in it because the money is going to have to be repaid one way or another full faith and credit of the state will be behind that and if something were to happen that we were to have some sort of financial downturn or if gas prices got so high that fuel tax collection started going down the ability to repay. That would be much lower if the voters say that that's a problem, people might be wondering why a transportation bond if we just passed the connect and see bond connect NC did not have road funding. No I didn't and that was something that the number of conservative lawmakers have taken issue with was that the bond was named connect and see which gives implications that it was something to do with roads and transportation.

It was not the money almost exclusively with university system or looking to colleges for capital construction projects and those projects may have been needed, but they were not transportation projects. Up till now the general assembly has gotten worked around transportation needs by shifting money from the highway funds into transportation funding directly with the past it was that always wasn't the case but this actually doing some like this could affect the ability to repay bonds if indeed there doing these projects else Rosa pay on a pay-as-you-go basis, but if it if they're pushing off the cost future, but still having to pay for the amount of current receipts that cause probably wrote Rick treasurer Dale Falwell is also speaking out about some pension reforms that day, thinks the state needs right on the specific cases there been the instances one high profile one recently in which man in Florida who was the son of of a retired state employee who had retired in Florida had been collected something like $250,000 for the pension plan after his mother died and what had just essentially never reported to the authorities here in North Carolina that his mother was no longer alive, and clearly had legal power to collect money on her behalf and did so. He's just been indicted and charged and will face a court action. So that's one thing is he wants to crack down pension fraud. He also was a crackdown on public employees who commit or commit certain crimes and this just make them basically on the hook for having their pensions taken away if they are convicted of certain church crimes and then finally there's the issue of pension spiking where you have a senior say local government official who is nearing retirement, and the though local government agency decides to boost their salary like crazy the last few years so that it will boost their pension benefits and he's cracking down on that as well. He would like to do away with that now is doing that is basically saying or somebody spikes a pension, then I would build a local government that did it in there and had to pay us back there since he is talking about the different policy activities and and statements that they treasurer Dale Falwell has been making. You can read the stories that we've been discussing@carolinajournal.com we been talking with Rick Henderson, editor in chief. Thank you, thank you stay with us much more Carolina journal radio to come in just a moment government plays a key role in your life affecting your paycheck the way you educate your kids the way you do business. How can you tell if government is doing a good job making the right choices.

Spending tax dollars wisely. Carolina journal.com tackles those questions every day. The John Locke foundation publishes Carolina journal in print each month and on the web each day@carolinajournal.com you'll find exclusive investigative reports on topics.

No one else is covering what else a rundown of the best news stories, editorials and opinion columns in North Carolina.

John Hood's daily Journal news stories and important public event set Carolina journal.tv and the voices of the newsmakers themselves at Carolina journal radio and print on the air and on the web.

You can find the information you need@carolinajournal.com welcome back to Carolina journal radio I Mitch coca good luck if you want to try to name every Kleinman North Carolina Prof. Jessica Smith of the UNC school of government literally wrote the book on state criminal law. Even she doesn't know all of them. Not all the things that have been made criminal are actually found where you'd think they which is in chapter 14, which is entitled to law and fact in our general statutes which are many volumes of green box that I'm sure many of you have felony offenses are peppered throughout 53 separate chapters of the general statutes and misdemeanor offenses are peppered throughout 142 separate chapters outside of chapter 14 which is on criminal law. Smith shared her thoughts recently with the John Locke foundation audience. She highlighted concerns about particular types of crime not included anywhere in the general statutes in North Carolina. It's a crime for a dentist to running and not say whether he is a specialist or a generalist strip is true. Gadgets not written in our statutes, while the answer is North Carolina.

The lot delegates authority to create crimes to administrative bodies import so for example a provision in the general statute makes it a time for person to violate any rule or regulation that's been adopted by the board of examiners like the one we just talked about our crimes are not just peppered throughout the general statutes, felonies, and 42 chapters, misdemeanors, and a high of 50 Kalon misdemeanors and hundred 42, also peppered throughout the administrative regulations and crimes go beyond the state's list of rules and regulations as well. We delegate authority to counties and cities and towns to Metropolitan sewerage distracts to make things a crime by way of and so we have a town that has made it a crime to allow chickens or other domestic fowl to be at large in the tale. It's to do that in another city. Anybody here from Rocky I hear from Rockingham. There's an ordinance that makes it a crime. If you have a business that principate sidewalk to fail to remove accumulated snow within 12 hours. In another anybody from out here in my area okay. It is a misdemeanor for any person to use pops or silly strings within the corporate limits of the city of Kure Beach is a misdemeanor to where Fong states are similar. You should be criminal.

Did you know did you know thing and it's funny right but serious at the same time and it serious for a bunch of reasons. First, the justice system is an expensive system because of the procedural protections and attached deal to process crime not regularly contacted panel justice system and one regulating conduct chickens and snow and silly strings and Fong people have raised the question about what that's the best use of public resources.

Also, you do need to understand misdemeanor in North Carolina just about misdemeanor if not a host of collateral consequences that attach to that person if they pick up a connection with collateral can interfere with a person's ability to serve in the military college financial aid job checkbox on the form.

Have you been convicted or qualify for professional licensure.

So it's actually a serious thing have a misdemeanor conviction, even if it's a relatively low level I, that's Prof. Jessica Smith of the UNC school of government. She spelling out multiple concerns about North Carolina's criminal code.

There's no central database for collecting all the things that have been made criminal by administrative boards and bodies by local governments such that it's impossible to say to how many things we've made criminal North Carolina now has consequences.

Other consequences as well.

It makes it really difficult for people like law enforcement officers, prosecutors, public defenders and judges to know understand this amount of criminal law that we've created and and maybe more importantly, it undermines a really critical purpose of the criminal law, which is to give us notice essay sentence as to what conduct is prohibited so that we can conform our behavior. Accordingly, Smith says all of these issues are tied to one major problem, really. The problem is that North Carolina lacks a streamlined, comprehensive, orderly, and principal code and what do I mean first I streamline. I mean include all that extra stuff that we don't need it takes out all the things that are unnecessarily on making the code unnecessarily complex redundant provisions, a comprehensive code means includes everything we needed. It defines all the core crimes in one place. It tells us what all the elements are defined as the required mental state, etc. orderly and principal code is one that's internally consistent, it doesn't suffer from those oddities that we talked about what things he does or scratching your head thinking it just doesn't make sense.

It complies with the Constitution.

It makes efficient use of public resources. I worry that at the heart of this is nastiness in our code ultimately undermines our criminal law.

It undermines the integrity of the law.

Trust and confidence that we as citizens can have a lot to be fairly and consistently apply the moral authority of the law and ultimately the criminal law's ability to serve as an effective deterrent to contact Smith spent much of her time highlighting the problem, what's the solution. How does North Carolina go about fixing the situation. One way that I'm particularly interested in have been talking to people about is to do something call recodifications and patient is basically a fancy word to refer to a comprehensive rewriting of the code to create streamlined principal orderly code. The primary goals of recodifications include everything you need in there. Make sure he got all you quote we are key crimes. Make sure you got all your key definitions take the stuff out it's not needed. Eliminate all the redundancy in the stuff that's making it overly complex.

Use plain language that normal people can understand. This will also really help law enforcement officers who on the scene in the heat of the moment, trying to figure out how they should process a particular crime.

Make sure that it's consistent and rational. Those are the issues that we've Artie touched on and preserve legislative judgments. In other words, the general assembly has already made decisions that certain things should be made criminal and that those judgments can be preserved in a recodifications process not only the legislature's determinations but also determinations that are appellate courts have made about the current law on so it's a cleaning up process but preserving is not about not about being soft on crime. It's about being smart on crime. It's about doing in a way that's clear and gives better notice on and ultimately can help with implementation the efficiency the fairness of the administration of the criminal justice system. That's Jessica Smith Prof. at the UNC school of government. She's making the case for a complete rewrite of North Carolina's criminal code overture with more Carolina drone radio in a moment.

If you have freedom we got great news to share with you now. You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups across North Carolina all in one place North Carolina conservative.com it's one stop shopping. North Carolina's freedom movement and North Carolina conservative.com. You'll find links to John Locke foundation blogs on the days news Carol manager.com reporting and quick takes Carolina Journal radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke foundation analysts, opinion pieces and reports on higher education from the James G Martin Center for academic renewal, commentary and polling data from the scimitar's Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council. That's right, all in one place North Carolina conservative.com that's North Carolina spelled out conservative.com North Carolina conservative.com. Try it today. North Carolina is changing not just day-to-day but outward to our minute to minute and 2nd to 2nd, how can you keep up with the changes, especially the ones that affect you, your family, your home, your job, make the John Locke foundation and Carolina Journal part of your social media diet on Facebook like the John Locke foundation like Carolina Journal. Follow us on Twitter at John Locke in C and at Carolina. Journal news, insights and analysis you'll find nowhere else.

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Support the John Locke foundation will Qubec Carolina Journal radio I'm Ashoka Gov. Roy Cooper and his Democratic allies are calling on North Carolina's Republican-led Gen. assembly to raise public school teacher pay during a recent news conference, state House Speaker Tim Moore responded there will be a teacher pay increase averaging more than 6% support. This commitment actually marks the fifth year that we've increased teach pay as you may know, the NEA issued a report showing that this year we were number two in the nation and the Bay and therefore that we were number one in the nation.

So really we believe the growth is what matters most typically when you hear frozen salaries billions of dollars of debt like we did when the Republicans the cover back in 2011 long-term star growth is in fact what North Carolina teachers need that's exactly what got next year.

The average teacher pay will grow to over $53,000 investment for the local supplements benefits for bonuses are included in were doing something also very important for not raising taxes to do this affect the second year of the tax cuts that are slated in the budget going to happen just as they are scheduled we go that we cut taxes got regulation that were at a time when more North Carolinians are working today that it any time in our state system were having great economic prosperity.

During that time we have increased education K-12 funding K-12 spend billions of dollars Senate leader Phil Berger focused on the figure of a $53,000 annual salary for teachers. That means that features will have received an average pay rate is $8600, $8600.19 percent compared to 2013 2005, more than 40,000 of our space teachers. Nearly half of all public school teachers will have received at least a $10,000 alone and places that sign.

Republicans also perform the entire face, allowing teachers to reach the top of the scale much more. We started in 2011 took pictures 32 is with the budget were going without this year. That truck is only 15 cut in half the time pictures from beginning to pop and under that pay plan put in place by Republicans. Teacher will earn approximately $233,000 base more course of their career as compared to the old, was that's state Senate leader Phil Berger joining House Speaker Tim Moore there touting their record of boosting paper North Carolina public school teachers will return with more Carolina Journal radio about where doubling down on freedom at Carolina Journal radio were proud to bring you stories that impact your life and your wallet. And now get twice as much freedom when you also listen to our podcast headlock available on iTunes and@johnlocke.org/podcast headlock is a little bit different.

It's a no holds barred discussion that challenges softheaded ideas from the left and the right, like Carolina Journal radio headlock is smart and timely but with headlock you'll hear more about the culture wars get some more humor as well. We guarantee great information and a good time double down with us. Listen to Carolina Journal radio each week and listen to headlock to remember, you can listen to headlock@johnlocke.org/podcast or subscriber download each week iTunes Carolina Journal radio and headlock just what you need to stay informed and stay entertained both brought to you in the name of freedom by the John Locke foundation will Qubec Carolina Journal radio I'm Ashoka the shift from a Barack Obama presidency to a Donald Trump presidencies led to major changes in federal government policy will help with those changes affected things like economic liberty, private property rights. Our next guest has been watching these issues.

Scott Bloch is Pres. and General Counsel at the Institute for Justice, thanks for joining us free to be thanks of course the change from having Barack Obama in the White House.

Donald Trump has led to major changes on many fronts.

Your group follows issues such as economic liberty, private property rights First Amendment. Have you seen any major changes in the year.

Plus, since we shifted from Barack Obama to Donald Trump as president will certainly seen some changes at the federal level and the issues that we care about a lot of our issues arise in state and local governments and one of the things that we always emphasized people is that regardless of who's in power people in power tend to abuse in the Constitution is there to protect citizens rights against these abuses of power and artwork. Again, regardless of who's in power. We have to have engaged judiciary, which holds the executive and legislative branches to account for their activities as well so that something that we always remain focused on his constitutional principles and calling out folks for for violations of those constitutional principles and was seen at that at the federal level and what were very dedicated doing is standing up for constitutional rights and praising the administration when it when it goes in a direction that favors more individual freedom and announcing it in challenging it when it when it violates constitutional rights, and so the federal level, one of encouraging things which scene is the Department of Labor has a renewed interest in talking about occupational licensing laws which have so interfered with economic liberty rights that it's one of these issues. That is, really, but there's a broad consensus really across the ideological spectrum that these were real problem and that something needs to be done about them the ability of folks to work for a living is is impeded by these owners. Occupational licensing laws, even Pres. Obama's Council of economic advisors recognize that and now the Labor Secretary Alex Acosta under the Trump administration has made this a priority. In talking about this and trying to get states to open up these these professions to many newcomers. I imagine the one other thing that could be a positive sign that we've seen is this focus on regulatory rollback. A lot of times these regulations trample on private property rights or focus on that could be a welcome sign this right of looking at regulations and in seeing how much government is interfering with people's economic liberty rights, private property rights and to really be thinking about the impact that this has on on on people's pupils lost occupational licensing is one of those issues that if the effects really on the on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder entry-level occupations that people can get into because they don't meet these onerous requirements that are imposed and in so many different states. So any approach to looks at these these regulations and and it and wants to see which ones are keeping with constitutional principles which ones violate the and make some decisions based upon that is is encourage we're chatting with Scott Bloch who is Pres. and General Counsel at the Institute for justice. Some people might be listening to us and say things were bad under Barack Obama, things are better under Donald Trump when it comes to the issues that your group focuses on it's not necessarily that cut and dry. There some things which should see with the Trump administration is done and say well we cut coach.

They had gone that way right. It will continue doing this in the way that were encouraged by what the administration is doing occupational licensing.

We are very concerned about what's happening on the issue of civil forfeiture of the Atty. Gen. Jeff sessions. This is a big champion of civil forfeiture laws and what he wants to do is to make it easier for the federal government to work with state and local governments in order to take private property and that is something that has to be challenged and we are looking about were doing that through lawsuits and trying to get Congress involved in this is well and this impacts directly. People North Carolina as well because North Carolina has good civil forfeiture laws at the state level. I but a lot of local law enforcement agency or see your work with the feds in order to take property I and Atty. Gen. sessions once to encourage that in room five. A lot of these programs were actually restricted in some way under the Obama ministration so that's a very dangerous threat to private property owners of working to challenge you mentioned earlier the a lot of the work that the IJ does is based on the state and local level. In recent years have you seen a major change in the way that governments are approaching these issues is a better improvement.

Things got worse about the same jibe thankfully on a lot of the issues in which were litigating and challenging.

We have seen improvements because of the work we've done the other groups have done on issues like occupational licensing civil forfeiture laws, eminent domain, which is another issue that would been we've been very involved in, but one of the things we recognize that these battles are never entirely finished. Governments always must be held accountable.

The Constitution must be enforced, and it takes groups like ours and others, and citizens that were willing to stand up and protect their rights and that's the only way the constitutional limits on government are can be enforced. Constitution uses words on a piece of paper. It takes determine citizens determine advocates to stand up for these rights. Every generation because we know those in power are going to be there and and they tend to abuse their power and they have to be held to account rights can be threatened that a number of ways at the Institute for justice. Do you see a particularly challenging threat that's sorted number one on the list.

At this point will guide leaders number one or two with it. We see these these threats to liberty across the wide, there's a wide array of of rights that are being challenged and in one of the things we've recognized who is that governments are always kinda coming up with innovative ways to threaten private property rights, economic liberty rights it a personal personal freedom so we have to stay one step ahead of the government and we have to always be looking ahead to what's coming down the pike because if somebody's not watching somebody's not challenging these actions are people in power tend to abuse if someone is out there feels his or her private property rights or economic liberty have been challenged and want to know a little bit more about the ways they could fight back.

Is there a way for them to find out more about what the Institute for Justice is doing.

Sure we have a website which is really easy. It's IJ.org and we have a lot of information about our cases. People can be of a form on their the people can fill out that allows people to contact us if they might have a potential case you we look for very specific things in our cases that will increase the likelihood that will be able to set precedent that not just benefits the people represent little a wide swath of of folks so so were always looking for great cases to take to take this on, and we represent people who might not otherwise be able to afford it were supported by people who believe in and what were doing and were reported be able to represent hundreds of people from across the country. Once again, that website is IJ.org, Pres. and General Counsel of the Institute for Justice Scott Bullock thanks for joining us.

Thanks so much on Carolina Journal ring just a commitment to truth and transparency in government.

That is the mission of Carolina Journal and we are proud to deliver and now proud to tell you the North Carolina press Association has honored to members of our team with awards for reporting and writing, that's right, we really do deliver award-winning journalism we shine the light on government spending, reveal the truth about boondoggles and dig deep into programs paid for with your tax money. We keep you in the know in a way other media outlets don't in our reach and influence are growing all of our outlets. We reach more than 1 million N. Carolinians each month so make sure you're one of them. Our monthly print edition arrives in your mailbox every month.

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Call 1866 JL FINF0 for your free subscription, welcome back to Carolina Journal radio I'm Donna Martinez, the medical plight of rural North Carolina is getting the attention of state lawmakers. In fact, there's actually a special committee devoted to this very issue in western North Carolina access to care is particularly spotty danwei is associate editor of Carolina Journal he covers healthcare for CJ.

He's been looking into the issue. He joins us now. Dan welcome back to the program about rural access to care in general. I know you been reporting on this for a number of months now. What have you found what's our issue in North Carolina. Well, there are the haves and the have-nots in their especially in the economically distressed counties. They also seem to be those who have the most challenges being medically underserved is all manner of shortages in terms of doctors, dentists, specialist hospitals and most people who live in those areas have to travel great distances to get the care that they need. What areas of the state. Are we talking about Dan, the problems persist throughout the state, but the biggest part just the ones that are most challenges seem to be in the western part of the state before the mountain regions and down East folks who live in the more urban and suburban areas tend to have a much easier access but once you get outside of that, and it's questionable exactly you travel to Western North Carolina recently as part of your in-depth reporting on this.

Why did you go there will just looking at some of the maps were some of the shortages are the western part of the county has some unique challenges and plus I'd never been out there so one stone.

But given the mountains and in some of the other characteristics out there that add to the difficulties I thought it would be an interesting place to do a microcosm of the story that large. You Actually Went Way Way Way, Westover towards the Tennessee border right on the border you spent time in Graham County tell us little bit about Graham County in general.

Well Robbinsville is the largest town in the county's County seat has fewer than a thousand people while Kelly has one grocery store until the beginning of April. I had one community health center that was the only place people go to find a doctor unknown urgent care center has just opened up and took to great fanfare, Jeanette. If you live here in Raleigh you're in a triangle area or the triad. There is a dock in the box on every corner and seems over there. This was the first one opened in the county so it was greatly welcomed addition to the medical establishment and how it folks in that area then been getting their care whether it's a dentist Dr. I mean what what if you break a bone or what if you have a car accident. What you do will you travel in an oddly low flow. While some people recognize that yeah that's a problem. They seem to take it in stride.

This is part of what we do out here.

It's something that they tend to take for granted your faith. I think that's a fair exchange for living in an urban area where you have other problems more social issues, crime, traffic what you're describing is that what I termed when I was growing up is that rugged individualism I grew up in the Southwest and there's a lot of that same type of mentality that acceptance that there is a trade-off.

Things that you're able to do and maybe the freedoms you're able to enjoy versus what you don't have access to right after you have variously described as mountain culture or frontier mentality is a rugged individualism.

This is an area that was viewing from a very rugged landscape loggers, farmers, people who had the make do on their own.

So there's a fierce independence out there which is part of the problem to what comes to seeking help really tell us more about that well if you don't the social services folks so they say have a difficult time getting people to come in in the course as one of the cases where people could be screamed for help. I don't often want to ask for help. So they'll deal with some of their health issues by themselves know they will go get care they don't want to charities because that no fierce independence. So this complicates things is as you move further along in your health condition. It can deteriorate, which then causes bigger problems downstream sets up a really interesting challenge then for state lawmakers and advocates for greater access to care. On the one hand, these are folks who are trying to make things better, so to speak for people who are living in the mountain counties, but there running up against people who may not be completely accepting of the help I think that's right, you know, but I also think they're open to some some issues of help in the school friends who say they didn't have program for a while that had a position assistant there given care is grant funded thing. It ran out so that the reverse to it, but probably the folks at the top of the hierarchy are ones who are more likely to push it an interesting piece of one of your stories on this this whole issue of access to care. The rural areas has to do with the big motorcycle Mecca as you call it that, is in Graham County will tell. The Dragon is not in Graham County but Graham County emergency services serves a part of what happens is that many of the motorcyclist to go there come through Graham County.

So it's his base camp for a lot of folks that come through for motorcycles who want to tackle this incredible 12 mile stretch of highway that has 318 curves and 11 miles. Oh my gosh, so it was as well known around the country more alone on the country to North Carolina made him admit so when I read your story dan@carolinajournal.com and gives here and so it covers for his covers 4 miles Lane County and goes into Tennessee and a lot of crashes up in that area and sure hello Skyway, which is another road there has vast number of motorcycle crashes, all of which help Graham County become one of the worst counties in the state for motorcycle crashes and vehicle crashes total and the reason that you focused on this in terms of access to care is because of those crashes you're talking about what happens when someone crashes in an area where there's not a whole lot of care available.

Tell Dragon mature homeless guy where it can be 3540 Ms. before influence arrives, assuming there's an ambulance available was only two eminences in the Graham County emergency services so they stay very busy and and is one fella, but you can bleed out before them is even gets to you, much less get you back down off the mountain through all those curves and winding treacherous roads to base camp where they can bring in a helicopter to evacuate UL Dan you've written that there's a special legislative committee that is looking at them.

The broad issue of access to care in the rural parts of the state have we gotten an inkling of the recommendations they are looking at, or any particular areas or problems. They're trying to solve. Have a ceiling have been looking at telemedicine which would allow specialists, no doctors for a way to communicate by electronic tablet tablets and other technological devices so that they can get advice there is going to practice issues to these things always come up every year.

Hopefully some of the sea will start to move, so confident will happen in the short session. Thank you very much you done all the time we have for the program this week on behalf of Mitch. Okay Donna Martinez join us again next week for more Carolina journal radio Carolina journal radio is a program of the John log to learn more about the John Locke foundation including donations support programs like Carolina journal radio sending email to development John Locke done 66 GLM info 166-553-4636 Carolina journal radio production of the timeline foundation airline is maintaining Carolina run system.

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