RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on efforts by the North Carolina legislature to pass a final state budget and go home for the year (all times local):
The North Carolina General Assembly has adjourned this year’s session after nearly 10 weeks of work.
The House officially gaveled down their session late Friday shortly before midnight after a long day and evening of committee and floor debate, party caucuses and the passage of a couple dozen bills. The Senate ended about 10 minutes earlier.
The two chambers also left on the table several pieces of legislation after compromises couldn’t be reached, particularly on regulatory and environmental matters. But they also on Friday finalized budget adjustments for the new fiscal year and removed a portion of the law known as House Bill 2 related to employment discrimination. Both measures go to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk.
Unless McCrory vetoes a bill and the legislature attempts an override, lawmakers won’t return after adjournment until early January, after the November elections for all 170 seats.
North Carolina lawmakers are working into the night to get a handful of bills approved before this year’s session of the General Assembly ends. Some bills aren’t going to make it.
The House defeated two bills Friday sent over from the Senate — one that would have directed that Asheville City Council members be chosen through district elections and another to allow an Alexander County township to hold an alcohol referendum. Earlier Friday, a House committee voted down changes sought by Sen. Harry Brown to Jacksonville’s occupancy tax.
Many bills have received final legislative approval Friday, including the budget. Senate and House members are also trying to work out final compromises on the legislature’s regulatory overhaul package.
House and Senate floor sessions were slated to resume Friday night.
The House and Senate are honoring departing members during their daily floor sessions on what could be the final day of the North Carolina General Assembly this year.
Some of the veteran legislators that aren’t seeking re-election this November were giving farewell addresses Friday.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Leo Daughtry of Smithfield told colleagues a part of his soul will be left behind when he leaves the General Assembly. He’s served in the legislature since 1989 and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2000.
The longest serving senator — Sen. Fletcher Hartsell — is also retiring. He presided over the Senate chamber Friday morning — often an privilege given to departing legislators like him. The circumstances aren’t ideal. Hartsell was indicted by a grand jury this week on campaign finance-related charges. Hartsell is well-liked by his colleagues.
Departing Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews also spoke on the floor Friday.
The adjustments to the North Carolina state budget for the new fiscal year have received final General Assembly approval and are headed to Gov. Pat McCrory.
The House gave its second affirmative vote to the $22.3 billion spending proposal Friday by a count of 91-22. Like Thursday’s preliminary vote, the bill received bipartisan support. The Senate approved the same measure earlier in the week.
Republicans who drew up the spending plan highlight permanent pay raises for teachers and state employees, higher standard deductions for income tax filers and setting aside $474 million more in reserves. Democrats who voted no say the measure isn’t good enough and criticized what they label pork in the plan for local projects.
The budget adjusts the second year of the two-year budget approved last year. Friday is the start of that second year.
The North Carolina General Assembly sounds prepared to leave town for the year by this weekend.
The House and Senate planned to keep working Friday and resolve outstanding differences they have in their annual work session that began in late April. Work has been happening on compromises for competing regulatory and environmental changes, as well as on high school math curriculum.
Still uncertain is whether legislators will make changes to the law approved in March that limited LGBT non-discrimination rules and directed which restroom transgender people can use.
The House also was expected Friday to vote one more time on a final budget agreement before sending it to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk.
The Senate may try to leave Friday, but House Speaker Tim Moore suggested a Saturday adjournment is possible.