Lawmakers in the NC Senate filed an adjournment resolution Wednesday evening that calls for adjourning both chambers Friday. Lawmakers would return at noon on July 10, August 1, September 25, November 18-22, and December 30.

Each return session would have activity limited to action on gubernatorial vetoes, appointments, conference reports, or elections, in addition to a final sine die adjournment.

The November session would see more activity as lawmakers potentially taking up actions that impact the state budget, crossover bills, or any constitutional amendments that may be on voters’ 2024 election ballot.

There are three constitutional amendments on the House calendar for Thursday including Citizen-Only Voting, Voter ID, and a third that would establish the replacement process for vacated Council of State positions. The Senate calendar reflects expected votes on such amendments later Thursday.

The decision to adjourn for now indicates that the budget stalemate between the chambers has reached the end of the road. Each chamber passed its own version of budget adjustments during this short session, but at 46 pages the Senate’s proposal has fewer changes than the House’s 271-page budget. 

Funding to clear the waiting list for opportunity scholarships was in both chambers’ budgets, at a cost of $487 million. About 54,800 North Carolina families are currently on that waiting list.

“The frustration is growing, soon the distrust will start to grow, because parents and families heard expanded eligibility was here and that scholarship dollars were coming, but as of today – less than five-months from November’s election – that promise has not been fulfilled,” reads a letter sent to lawmakers this week by a coalition of school choice groups.

Without a budget adjustment agreement, families’ remaining hope for clearing that Opportunity Scholarship waitlist might be HB 823/SB 406 Eliminate School Choice Program Waitlists, which the Senate passed earlier in May, but has not yet been taken up by the House.

“Despite publicly supporting Opportunity Scholarships, House leadership is poised to adjourn without fully funding this program,” said Jessica Thompson, Director of Government Affairs and General Counsel for the John Locke Foundation. “While there are genuine budget disagreements, a majority of both chambers agree they should fully fund the expanded Opportunity Scholarship program. The Senate passed a stand-alone bill to fully fund OSP in early May, yet the House has failed to deliver for thousands of students and parents. It’s a shame that many of these students will be unable to take advantage of the program and promises made last year, as parents and schools cannot postpone enrollment decisions much longer.”

If lawmakers pass the adjournment resolution, they would return on July 10.