The legislature has continued business at a slower pace following the heavy schedules for both chambers during Crossover and the release of the House’s proposed budget. With the House having passed its version of the budget, the Senate has been spending most of their time crafting theirs. Senate leadership held a press conference Tuesday morning laying out the broad outlines of their plan (see below). The Senate is expected to vote on their budget by the end of the week, and once the Senate approves their version, negotiations between the chambers will begin in earnest. All involved understand, of course, that Gov. Cooper is likely to veto the plan if it does not include a plan to expand Medicaid and other priorities his office has detailed. With enough Democratic votes to sustain a veto, Republicans will be hoping to include spending and provisions that entice Democratic support. This may be difficult as only one House member voted for the budget, so expect the final product to include provisions that are popular enough with the public to make voting against the budget politically problematic. Read the full report here.
Last Thursday was the General Assembly’s crossover deadline, the date by which bills without a financial element must move from one chamber to another in order to stay alive for the session. Usually, this is a week filled with late nights and craziness, but this session they actually planned ahead and moved bills quickly the week before so it was surprisingly calm. The House wrapped up its work on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday, meaning most lawmakers weren’t even in town for the actual deadline. A total of 1,687 total bills have been introduced this session, including more than 1,000 House bills and nearly 700 in the Senate. Most bills that had been heard in committee made it to the floor for a vote, and many remaining bills have a budget or finance component, exempting them from crossover. And some bills that may not have made the deadline, may be revived later in session with the addition of a fiscal element or by being added to another measure. Now that crossover has passed, the budget will take center stage again. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, indicated that the goal is for the Senate to complete the budget by the end of the month, which would likely mean floor votes on the week after Memorial Day. According to Brown, budget subcommittees are already working on the pieces of the budget. Read the full report here.
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