Raleigh, N.C. — Good morning and welcome to Today@NCCapitol. Here's what's going on at the General Assembly and elsewhere in North Carolina politics:
BUDGET (9 a.m.): The state House is scheduled to give final approval to a $22.2 billion budget bill after tentatively approving the measure 103-12 on Wednesday. WRAL.com plans to stream the floor session live online.
The bill contains both an income tax cut – although not as big of a cut as proposed by Senate leaders – and raises for teachers and state employees.
The measure will next go to the Senate, which will draft its own budget plan.
COAL ASH (Noon): The day after the Department of Environmental Quality recommended that all 30-plus unlined coal ash pits in the state be removed, Senate Democrats will hold a news conference to address the plan.
SENATE FLOOR (11 a.m.): The state Senate will take up Senate Bill 832, which extends a tax break on heavy equipment to manufacturers with operations at the state ports.
SENATE JUDICIARY II (10 a.m.): The Senate Judiciary II Committee will take up House Bill 357, which will allow toxicology reports to be introduced as written evidence in district court without the presence of the expert who drafted it. The committee is also scheduled to take up House Bill 1020, which changes the makeup of the Commission on Indigent Defense Services.
DEBATE: WRAL News will host a debate for the 2nd Congressional District Republicans at 7 p.m. Thursday. Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, Congressman George Holding and Dr. Greg Brannon will take questions for an hour, which will air live on WRAL-TV and on WRAL.com.
DEATH: Former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake writes that he no longer supports the death penalty: "Our inability to determine who possesses sufficient culpability to warrant a death sentence draws into question whether the death penalty can ever be constitutional under the Eighth Amendment. I have come to believe that it probably cannot."