@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Wednesday Wrap: Elephant in the room

Posted May 31

— The blind-men-and-the-elephant process the House used to roll out its 2017-18 budget proposal over the last week has finally ended, as the full Appropriations Committee on Wednesday gave its approval to a $22.9 billion elephant.

The final pieces to the puzzle came out in the committee hearing, when teachers learned they would get a 3.3 percent raise, on average, next year but a bigger bump in 2018-19, and state workers found out they would get a $1,000 raise in each of the two years. Neither group was really pleased.

The committee churned through some 60 proposed amendments, approving most with little or no debate. Floor votes are set for Thursday and Friday, and the House and the Senate will then have to reach a compromise before approving a final spending plan.

After disposing of the budget for the day, a House committee met and approved a proposal that would eliminate the requirement for permit to carry a concealed weapon in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, a Senate committee approved a measure overhauling various environmental regulations, including eliminating a ban on plastic grocery bags on the Outer Banks. A bill created a fund for transportation "megaprojects," such as repairing Interstate 95, cleared a separate Senate committee, despite fierce opposition from some senators.

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