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It’s Friday, which is extra great this week, because I’ve thought it was Friday for the last three days.
This week marked the official start of budget week in North Carolina’s legislature. It’s my first time navigating that process here, so I’ve been learning a lot.
Here’s what went down:
On Monday, state Senate Republicans unveiled their more than 400-page budget proposal, which includes both allocations of state and federal funds and policy changes. It still has a ways to go before making it to the governor’s desk and will likely undergo numerous changes along the way. The first draft, though, gives us a hint at the priorities of some of the state’s most powerful lawmakers, including stripping power from the governor.
Lawmakers moved the bill through committee Tuesday and Wednesday, sending it to the Senate floor Thursday for its first vote there. That vote was significant because four Democrats voted in favor of the budget — enough to override a veto, if it comes to that.
The bill is up for one more largely procedural vote Friday before it goes to the House. The House is expected to propose changes to the bill for the next month or so.
Also in the budget: A provision that would hold law enforcement officers accountable for misconduct and use of force. A big change for one of the state’s largest agencies. Money for the North Carolina Zoo, along with East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine.
WHAT WE’RE READING
UNC’s chief fundraiser has an outside gig that, experts say, could hurt the university, Kate Murphy and Dan Kane report.
MORE BIG STORIES FROM THE TEAM
How one of North Carolina’s most powerful lawmakers is pushing for marijuana legalization, from Will Doran.
In an effort to “free the smiles,” the House voted to end a mask mandate for school kids, Avi Bajpai reports.
The staff members who serve North Carolina lawmakers see larger salary bumps than other state employees, Colin Campbell reports. Read more to learn where your taxpayer dollars are going.
The locations of pipelines and how drinking water gets treated would be secret if a regulatory reform bill is signed into law, Adam Wagner and I report. In other energy-related news: Gov. Roy Cooper appointed a new Department of Environmental Quality secretary this week, after the state Senate denied the job to Cooper’s first appointee.
In addition to working through the budget this week, lawmakers sent a bill that would end federal unemployment benefits to Cooper’s desk.
Thanks for reading. See you next week.
— Lucille Sherman, state government reporter for The News & Observer. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.