Raleigh, N.C. — The House's budget plan survived 10 hours of debate in the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday with few substantive changes. Nearly 40 amendments to Senate Bill 402 were considered, though those that passed made only minor adjustments to the $20.6 billion plan.
Three changes proposed by Republicans generated substantial debate.
Rep. Chris Whitmire, R-Transylvania, proposed removing the "Opportunity Scholarship" voucher program from the bill. Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, sought to strike the funding for eugenics compensation. Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, tried to require the University of North Carolina system to pay full out-of-state rates for academic scholarship students. All three proposals failed to win approval.
Democrats offered two amendments that also generated heated discussion: a proposal to remove state funding for anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers and a bid to restore money for Minority Economic Development. Neither of those proposals gained approval.
The budget plan is on the House Finance Committee agenda Wednesday morning and is expected on the House floor for full debate Wednesday at noon.
House Speaker Thom Tillis warned House members to expect a lengthy session. He said that, if the initial vote happens close to midnight, he may keep members there past midnight for the final vote to send the House package to the Senate and start the conference process.