Raleigh, N.C. — The House Appropriations Committee considered dozens of amendments to the proposed $21.1 billion state budget during a seven-hour hearing before approving the spending plan, setting the stage for the first vote on the House floor on Thursday.
Items added to the budget include an extra week of vacation for state workers, the restoration of a tax credit for rehabbing old buildings and more money for teaching fellows and family courts.
One notable amendment that was defeated would have left the State Bureau of Investigation under the Attorney General's Office. Debate on that provision came shortly after news broke of an SBI investigation into campaign donations from the video sweepstakes industry, prompting Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger to accuse Attorney General Roy Cooper of trying to politicize the move.
Earlier in the day, the House Finance Committee beat back an attempt to add two more years of film tax credits to the budget.
Outside of the budget, the Senate approved a tort reform bill after adding back in protections for drug companies that had been stripped from the bill Tuesday. The chamber also gave final approval to a loophole allowing the Possum Drop on New Year's Eve in Clay County and clarifying legislation regarding the ownership of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.