North Carolina Legislature Reconvenes To Address Budget, Vouchers As Big Elections Approach

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina General Assembly begins its annual work session Wednesday with a little extra money to spend and limited pressing issues to address before key elections this fall and longtime state government leaders depart.

Following their landmark 2023 session that expanded Medicaid, restricted abortion, broadened gun rights, swelled private-school vouchers and weakened the governor, Republicans leading the House and Senate are talking about the traditionally “short” session to be just that — with a goal to finish by early summer.

“We dealt with a lot of weighty issues,” House Speaker Tim Moore, a Cleveland County Republican, told reporters recently. “Are there still some things left to be done? Yes, we’re going to deal with those.”

With all 170 legislative seats up for reelection in November and Republicans who approved last year’s agenda holding the narrowest of veto-proof majorities, party leaders will be careful to advance measures that won’t sway public opinion against their candidates in key districts. Legislation forcing local sheriffs to assist with federal immigration enforcement and locating more funds for the private-school scholarships could qualify.

The legislature’s chief duty in even-numbered years is to adjust the second year of the two-year government operating budget that’s already enacted.

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