North Carolina lawmakers approved a $23 billion General Fund budget plan, overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto with more than two days to spare before the start of the new budget year. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, shares highlights from the spending plan. Gray also explains how the latest budget fits with Republican legislative leaders’ long-term strategy of limiting government spending growth and lowering tax burdens. Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement agencies to take property from people suspected of illegal activity, even if they never face criminal charges. The process is open to abuse. Darpana Sheth, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, explains why civil asset forfeiture can create problems. Sheth also explains how North Carolina compares to other states in its treatment of civil forfeiture cases. The U.S. House has approved a bill designed to fix problems created by the Dodd-Frank federal financial regulations. U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th District, spoke on Capitol Hill about the potential benefits of the Financial Choice Act. The idea would need support from the U.S. Senate to become law. Some North Carolina lawmakers have shown interest in having this state join 12 others in supporting a Convention of States. That’s an option provided in Article V of the U.S. Constitution for states to initiate constitutional amendments. During a recent visit to Raleigh, former Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma explained his support for the convention. He also addressed concerns from critics who fear a convention could lead to unanticipated negative results. The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down a North Carolina law that banned registered sex offenders from using social media sites such as Facebook. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, discusses the reversal of the state Supreme Court ruling that had upheld North Carolina’s law. Guze outlines U.S. Supreme Court justices’ concerns. He also explains why the high court split on some details of the majority opinion.