North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review

April 26, 2024

Members of the North Carolina General Assembly officially reconvened for the start of the 2024 legislative short session this week. Lawmakers were only in session briefly, gaveling in on Wednesday afternoon, and adjourning for the week Thursday morning. Several committees are scheduled to begin meeting next week, with the first floor votes of the short session possible by mid-week next week.

Meanwhile, in-person early voting for the second primary has officially begun, with the runoff election scheduled for Tuesday, May 14. Early voting began Thursday, April 25 at 8:00 am and will run through Saturday, May11 at 3:00 pm. Two statewide contests and one congressional race will be on the ballot for the runoff election: the Republican nominations for lieutenant governor, state auditor, and US House District 13.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, Hal Weatherman and Jim O’Neill will compete for the Republican nomination and the chance to face current state Sen. Rachel Hunt (D-Mecklenburg) in the November general election. Jack Clark and Dave Boliek will compete for the Republican nomination for state auditor, the winner of which will face incumbent Democrat Jessica Holmes in the general. In US House District 13, Kelly Daughtry will go up against Brad Knott in the Republican primary contest. The winner of the May 14 runoff will face Democrat Frank Pierce in the November general election. For more information on how to vote in the statewide Republican second primary, visit the State Board of Elections website, or click here.

Governor’s Budget

As legislators gear up for the short session and begin discussions around a budget adjustment bill, Governor Roy Cooper (D) unveiled how he would like to see the General Assembly spend the $1.4 billion revenue surplus this year. The Governor’s recommended budget adjustments for FY 2024-25 include:

  • $252 million to guarantee at least a 5% across-the-board salary increase to state government employees
  • $400 million for retention bonuses for all state-funded employees
  • $2.5 billion General Obligation Bond to be placed on the November general election ballot to help fund public school construction and renovation needs
  • $35 million in literacy professional development for middle grade teachers by expanding the state’s Read to Achieve program
  • $44 million to fund additional school counselors, nurses, psychologists, and social workers
  • $200 million for Child Care Stabilization Grants to help mitigate the child care fiscal cliff
  • $128.5 million to create a statewide rate floor that will increase child care subsidy reimbursement rates in rural and low wealth communities
  • $24 million to provide wrap-around summer care and learning programs for students once they complete NC Pre-K and before entering kindergarten
  • $40 million for the Advanced Manufacturing and Biotech Solutions Center for high-need job training
  • $19 million to expand the state’s capacity to provide nurses, doctors, pharmacists, physician assistants, and direct support care providers
  • $49 million for an unemployment insurance tax cut for businesses with 500 or fewer employees
  • $15 million in additional funding for the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund
  • $900,000 to offset the co-pays for students eligible for reduced-price lunches for schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program
  • Provides an 8.5% average total raise for all teachers
  • Reinstates master’s pay for teachers and increases salaries for school-based administrators
  • Places a moratorium on new private school vouchers through the Opportunity Scholarship Program
  • Provides a refundable child and dependent care tax credit
  • Maintains the corporate income tax rate at 2.5%

Legislative leadership has previously indicated that they plan to use at least some of the revenue surplus to fully fund the Opportunity Scholarship Program and help support child care needs ahead of the looming federal funding cliff expected in June. While lawmakers acknowledged Governor Cooper’s budget Wednesday afternoon and expect to have some areas of agreement, the Governor’s input will likely have little impact on what legislators ultimately decide to do with their version of the budget adjustment bill this session.

Upcoming Legislative Meetings

Monday, April 29

10:00 AM House: Session Convenes
12:00 PM Senate: Session Convenes

Tuesday, April 30

11:00 AM Senate: Judiciary
2:00 PM House: Local Government – Land Use, Planning and Development