October 18, 2019
The members of the North Carolina General Assembly the week off from recorded voting sessions while House and Senate leadership discussed which of the remaining bills to bring forward to the
respective chambers as the days left in this year’s legislative session fly by. While the Senate has scheduled an adjournment date of October 31st, with or without holding a vote to override the Governor’s budget veto, the House has yet to commit to an official adjournment date. As legislative leadership tries to clear their calendars before the end of the month, both bodies are set to continue moving forward with mini budget proposals and bills with wide bipartisan support. While there has been no announcement , it appears that the House will be working to get work done by the end of the month.
Both the House and the Senate will hold their next voting sessions when they return from fall break on Monday, October 21.
A series of mini budget proposals made their way through the legislature last week and two were signed by the Governor. Lawmakers have been pushing through piecemeal budget proposals to ensure departments and programs have the money needed to continue operations as the legislative session comes to a close. HB 100: DOT Budget for 2019-2021 Biennium contains the same language that was included in the original transportation section of this year's vetoed budget bill. Over the next two years, the bill will provide a total of $130 million to North Carolina's Department of Transportation to fund the Strategic Transportation Initiatives Program. The bill also makes changes to the appropriation schedule of the Highway Trust Fund in lieu of the jet fuel tax moratorium extension that may be addressed in a separate bill further down the road. Legislators have been clear that this bill does not contain a loan or cash infusion to the Department of Transportation to address the backlog of projects that continue to pile up . This bill remains on the Governor’s desk. He has until October 21 to sign the bill.
HB 1001: Raise the Age Funding also contains the same language as its respective budget provisions, with two exceptions - additional funding for assistant district attorneys in a number of districts and annual funding for court counselors. The bill appropriates the funding needed to implement North Carolina's Raise the Age program, a program that places 16- and 17- year-old offenders in the juvenile justice system rather than the adult justice system as the law currently states. In total, the bill allocates $77 million over the next two years for program implementation costs. The Governor signed this bill on October 14.
The third mini budget bill that the Governor signed on October 14 is aimed at expanding broadband access to rural communities through the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program. HB 387: Growing G.R.E.A.T. consists of budget bill language to allocate an additional $15 million to the program and expand to tier two counties beginning in July of 2020. Currently, only tier one counties are eligible for the grants.
NOTE: The next Old North State Report will be published on Monday, Oct. 28
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