Senate GOP says 3 a.m. changes weren’t to punish Democrats

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Top Republicans in the North Carolina Senate say their state budget amendment in the wee hours to expand opioid abuse treatment wasn’t drawn up to punish Democrats for proposing several changes of their own after midnight.

Republican budget-writers located over $1 million from several other programs to pay for pilot programs to help abusers in several cities and counties. Some of that money came from public school initiatives in the budget with funds designated for eastern North Carolina counties represented by Democrats.

The amendment was drawn up last Friday morning during a two-hour recess called by Republicans, leading to a 3 a.m. vote. Senate Republicans were visibly unhappy with Democrats earlier that night when they ran amendments that had little chance of passing after a robust debate Thursday.