Raleigh, N.C. — On a day when the House gave preliminary approval to the proposed $22.34 billion state budget and gave final approval to compromise legislation on coal ash cleanup, House Bill 2 continued to dominate discussions.
Gov. Pat McCrory met with Democratic lawmakers to drum up support for possible tweaks to the controversial law, and House Republicans met behind closed doors for hours to reach a consensus on what those changes might be. At the end of the day, however, there was no deal, and leading lawmakers said the chance of putting something together is slim, given that the legislative session could be over by Saturday.
Meanwhile, the House is set to hold its final vote on the budget Friday. Although Democrats criticized the spending plan, which raises salaries for teachers and state workers and cuts income taxes, many voted for it.
The coal ash compromise would allow Duke Energy to keep the toxin-laced ash in a number of unlined pits across the state if it meets certain conditions. It also puts the state Department of Environmental Quality, not an independent commission in charge of overseeing the clean-up effort.