On Wednesday, North Carolina House leaders unveiled their proposed state budget. Governor Cooper will be under pressure to sign the final version because Medicaid expansion, a bill he signed last week, is tied to passing a budget.

The House’s budget will cost $29.7 billion, a 10.5 percent increase from the previous budget and a number agreed upon in advance between the House and Senate.

Following the House budget release, the Senate is expected to release its version before the two chambers meet to “conference,” meaning leaders from both chambers will negotiate a budget to send to Governor Cooper.

Here are a few of the key budgetary provisions:

  • State employees will receive pay raises of at least 7.5 percent over the next two years.
  • Teachers will receive pay raises just north of 10 percent over the next two years.
  • State highway patrolmen will receive an 11 percent pay raise over the next two years.
  • Law Enforcement Officers and Corrections Officers will receive pay raises north of 10 percent over the next two years.
  • There will be funding to create the School of Civic Life and Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The school will focus on developing democratic competencies based on American history and political tradition.
  • There will be funding to move UNC-Chapel Hill’s law school to a new location.

Here are some of the policy measures included in the House budget:

  • Medical Freedom/COVID-19 Vaccinations: Discrimination against persons based on COVID-19 vaccination status would not be allowed.
  • Academic Transparency: Informing the public of course materials used in a classroom.
  • Modernize Selection of Instructional Materials: Local school boards will select and adopt instructional materials for courses in elementary and secondary school.
  • Remote Charter Schools: Enables the ability for charter schools to include or be solely based on remote enrollment/learning.
  • Expand Eligibility and Revise Administration for Opportunity Scholarships: Expands eligibility for opportunity scholarships, no longer requiring children to attend public school before being eligible for the scholarships.
  • Limitations on State Funds for Abortions: Prevents state funds from being used in the performance or in support of the administration of an abortion unless certain exemption criteria are met, such as the mother’s life being in danger or the pregnancy being the result of rape.
  • Prohibit Cap and Trade Requirements for Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions: No state agency, governor, or the Department of Environmental Quality, may require certain public utilities to engage in carbon offset programs.
  • Prohibition on State or Regional Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles: Prohibits any requirements on controlling emissions on new motor vehicles.
  • Raise Mandatory Retirement Age for Appellate Judges: No justice or judge of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals may continue in office beyond the last day of the month in which the justice or judge becomes 76 years old. However, they may apply to become an emergency justice via an express letter to the governor as long as they meet certain criteria.
  • SBE/Prohibit ERIC Membership: Make it so that NC may not become a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center, Inc.
  • Prohibit Private Monetary Donations in Elections: Prevents the State Board of Elections, any county board of elections, and any county commissioners from accepting private monetary donations for conducting elections, including employing individuals on a temporary basis.
  • Make State Bureau of Investigation Independent Department: Insulates SBI from political interference, as recently uncovered by the outgoing SBI director, by making it completely isolated.
  • Transfer State Crime Lab to Independent State Bureau of Investigation: The state crime lab would be transferred from the Department of Justice to be under the SBI.

The budget committee report can be viewed HERE, and the bill text of the budget can be viewed HERE.

There has been speculation as to whether the budget would include additional policy provisions, such as major abortion legislation, the SAVE Act, or the Parent’s Bill of Rights. None of these components are included in the House’s budget.