We acknowledge the history of Memorial Day as we work to end the wars and conflicts in which soldiers die.
- NC Poor People's Campaign is on Tuesday at 2pm this week because of the holiday. This week's focus is militarism and the proliferation of gun violence.
- Joint Appropriations Committee, 10am, Room 643, Legislative Office Building; conference report for the budget will be considered.
- Select Committee on Elections, rescheduled from last week, 2pm, Room 1027/1128, Legislative Building, "agenda to be determined."
- Live audio of committee meetings is sometimes available. Check the Chamber Dashboard.
- Directions and info about the Legislative Complex.
The NC Senate and House will both convene again at 7pm today. WRAL reports that both chambers hope to approve the budget by the end of the week, so it could be on Gov. Cooper's desk by Friday. As we reported last week, the budget process is on track to be approved by the veto-proof majority without allowing amendments or significant input from Democrats and even rank-and-file Republicans.
Budget details are being released in bits and pieces. Here's some of what we know so far, most of it has yet to be made public a few days before it will be passed:
- Most state employees will get a 2% raise. Those at the bottom of the pay scale will see a substantial increase from ~$24K/yr to ~$31K/yr, equivalent to a $15/hour wage. This substantial increase will affect ~12% of state workers. Retirees will get a 1%, one-time bonus instead of a cost of living increase.
- Details of teacher salary increases haven't been released; it's been reported that the "average" increase will be 6%. More here.
- Four Republican senators have filed a bill let that would let "local school districts turn volunteer teachers into armed police officers with full arrest powers" and give them a 5% salary increase.
- Spending for school safety programs is significantly less than requested by Gov Cooper and Democrats. The John Locke Foundation lists school safety-related bills being considered here.
- Republicans are considering changes to Medicaid that would include new work requirements for about 60,000 recipients. New mothers could be hit especially hard if these changes become law.
- The way school nurses are funded is being overhauled, though funding falls far short of supporting NC's goal for school nurses.
- Funds are included for kickstarter grants intended to increase broadband services in rural areas.
What do you think about these budget items and the process being used to adopt them? Let your NC legislators know, find them here AND copy Senator Berger (firstname.lastname@example.org) when you email your state senator and Representative Moore (email@example.com) when you email your representative.