NC General Assembly

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

State lawmakers are still at odds over putting together a budget for the fiscal year that has already begun.

On Thursday House budget negotiators raised their proposal for teacher pay increases from five to six percent. But Senate leaders say they won't accept that offer. They'd like to give educators an 11 percent raise, a number that was laid out in their budget proposal released weeks ago. Phil Berger is the President Pro Tem of the Senate.

NC legislature


Republican senators walked out of budget negotiations this morning at the General Assembly this morning. The move followed House Republican Senior Chairman Nelson Dollar's call for educators to speak to the joint body.

"One of the reasons why we felt it was important to bring folks forward is that if these are going to be public meetings, let's have some public input," Dollar said. 

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown said Representative Dollar overstepped when he called for outside testimony.

As part of the 2013-14 state budget, the State Board of Education is required to study virtual charter schools and propose draft rules.
Ian Usher via Flickr

As budget writers at the North Carolina General Assembly are meeting this week to work toward an agreement on the state's spending plan, there about a dozen more bills they have not yet approved.
Some, such as a bill to clean up Duke Energy's 33 coal ash ponds to prevent contamination to the state's waterways, or a bill to repeal parts of the national Common Core academic standards for public school student performance, have been promoted as high priorities by lawmakers since they convened in May, and are likely to be negotiated and sent to Gov. Pat McCrory for signature.

North Carolina Legislative building
NC General Assembly

State lawmakers involved in budget negotiations have an important week ahead.

Budget negotiators are expected to meet this week to hammer out the details of a spending plan adjustment for the fiscal year that has already started.

The House will be holding skeleton sessions. The Senate is expected to hold some regular floor sessions, though leaders say they plan to focus on getting a budget done.

It remains to be seen whether lawmakers will work out a few remaining issues, including coal ash, film incentives, and common core education standards.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

State lawmakers wrapped up a busy week today before the July Fourth holiday.

This week, lawmakers finally broke the logjam in budget negotiations, with an unusual open conference committee meeting in which House and Senate legislators came to an agreement on Medicaid shortfall numbers.

In the meantime, lawmakers pushed through other measures, including one House bill earlier in the week that would study removing law enforcement officers' personal information from online records.

North Carolina Legislative building
NC General Assembly

It was a busy day at the legislature today.  Lawmakers made progress on a number of issues. In the House, lawmakers unanimously approved a bill that supports the governor's vision to manage Medicaid using an accountable care model.

On the Senate floor, Democratic Senator Floyd McKissick marked the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson 50 years ago today. McKissick credited protesters, the media who covered them, and politicians who were committed to equal rights.

The cleanup for the 2008 Tennessee coal ash disaster. Image taken March 2012.
Appalachian Voices / via Creative Commons/Flickr

At the General Assembly, lawmakers are getting close to finalizing a bill outlining the future of Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds. Lawmakers have been looking into the situation since February, when 39,000 tons of ash leaked from one pond and coated the Dan River with gray sludge.

The issue of 100 million tons of coal ash in ponds across the state has been slowly growing over the past century.

Utility companies burned coal to generate electricity, cooled off the ashes by mixing them with water, and dumped them into unlined ponds.


Today is the first day of the new fiscal year, but there’s no state budget adjustment in sight. That’s because legislators can’t agree on two big issues: Medicaid funding and teacher raises. Last week, the House passed a partial spending plan that would’ve given teachers average raises of five percent despite the absence of a larger budget deal, but last night the Senate rejected the measure.

A woman is arrested at the state capitol as a part of a Moral Mondays protest.

The Moral Monday protests from Raleigh have garnered national attention over the past year. A key component of the protests has been media attention on arrests. Dozens were arrested this year for various non-violent offenses, a move some say is becoming an overt aim of many protestors.

Amy Laura Hall is a professor of ethics at the Duke Divinity School.  She has participated in the Moral Monday protests from the start, but she says the tactic of getting arrested -- or "orderly submission" as she calls it -- is flawed.   

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers say they want to break the impasse on a state budget this week. But those aren’t the only bills on their docket.

Leaders in the Senate and the House have been talking about Common Core and Coal Ash since they started meeting in May.

The Senate wants to consider keeping parts of Common Core, the national academic standards for public school students. The House wants to completely replace them.