NC Budget, Immigration Bills Finalized as Session Ends

The North Carolina General Assembly wrapped up its chief work session for the year on Friday by finalizing proposed state budget adjustments for the new fiscal year, crossing off other must-do legislation but leaving some big policy matters unresolved or thwarted.

The Republican-penned spending measure, which alters the second year of a two-year budget plan enacted last November, received strong bipartisan support again, like it did while securing initial House and Senate approval on Thursday.

The bill would spend $27.9 billion for the new year that began Friday but also sets aside several billion additional dollars in reserves and construction projects.

It also contains additional pay increases for teachers and state employees, although they’re not as large as those sought by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who is reviewing the measure, a spokesperson said. He’ll have 10 days to decide whether to sign the bill into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature.

With over 30 legislative Democrats voting for the measure, Cooper appears hard-pressed to have any veto he issues stick should GOP leaders attempt an override later this month. The House voted 82-25 and the Senate 36-8 for the measure with little debate Friday, approving it after Thursday’s more robust discussion.

“It looked like a whole lot of folks in the General Assembly are on board with it, and hopefully that will resonate with him,” Senate leader Phil Berger, a Rockingham County Republican, said after his chamber completed business.

The hodge-podge of other legislation that got final General Assembly approval on Friday included the annual “regulatory reform” measure and a restructuring of oversight of the state’s two schools for the deaf and one for the blind. Another approved measure makes clear that hospitals or medical offices can’t attempt to bill victims of sexual assault or their insurance companies for forensic medical examinations, leaving it to a special state fund for payment.

BY GARY D. ROBERTSON
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