On Thursday Republican leaders at the NCGA announced that they were close to negotiating a budget agreement. According to Speaker of the House Tim Moore, the negotiators have reached an agreement on teacher and state employee pay raises, but negotiations about tax cuts and state reserves continue. Governor Cooper’s office issued a statement Friday that excessive personal income tax cuts could harm public education in North Carolina. Since the budget is late, the state has been operating on the previous budget since July 1.
On Monday the North Carolina Board of Elections released a list of university and government IDs that can be used for voting. Photo ID is now required to vote in North Carolina following an April state supreme court decision. Most of the institutions that submitted IDs for approval were approved, including all UNC system universities. Six institutional IDs were not accepted due to a lack of expiration dates; those institutions will be able to apply again next year. All approved IDs will be usable through the 2024 election.
A bill under consideration at the NCGA would invest $1.5 billion to award a single business the right to develop three casinos across the state. Though the draft bill doesn’t name specific counties, Republican House Speaker Tim Moore said the casinos would be in Anson, Nash and Rockingham counties. Republican Senate leader Phil Berger represents Rockingham County. Moore and Berger indicated that the bill has support, but it is unclear whether it will pass while budget negotiations are also ongoing.
On Friday Governor Cooper vetoed the “Charter Schools Omnibus” bill. The Republican-sponsored bill would allow counties to spend tax revenues on charter school construction or renovation, remove enrollment caps at low-performing charter schools, and allow charter schools to give enrollment preference for students from certain preschools. Cooper’s veto will likely be subject to a veto override vote when the NCGA reconvenes on August 7, along with five other vetoed bills.
On Thursday Speaker of the House Tim Moore said that a broad education bill would not be considered for a vote this session. Among the many controversial aspects of the bill, SB 90 includes a provision to allow school superintendents to be fired based on five successful parent complaints along with multiple provisions restricting materials in school and public libraries.