North Carolina legislators return to adjust the budget and consider other issues

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina General Assembly is returning to regular business six months after it wrapped up a landmark session in 2023.

The House and Senate planned to gavel in daily floor meetings at midday Wednesday. The last time most legislators were together in Raleigh was in late October, when redistricting maps were debated and enacted.

Odd-numbered-year sessions begin in January, but those in even-numbered years start in the spring. with lawmakers looking to end in the early summer.

The chief job for lawmakers will be to adjust the second year of the two-year state government budget approved last year. They’re expected to consider spending more on Medicaid and beefing up funds for scholarships for K-12 children to attend private schools. A forecast shows North Carolina could have $1.4 billion more in revenues than expected through mid-2025. Other issues will surface in the weeks ahead.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will unveil his own proposed budget adjustments on Wednesday as well. Republicans hold narrow veto-proof majorities, which means they can choose to ignore his preferences if GOP legislators remain united.

Last year’s session was marked by Republicans accepting Medicaid expansion, restricting abortion, broadening gun rights and weakening the governor’s power.

Cooper couldn’t seek reelection this fall due to term limits, and state House Speaker Tim Moore won’t be back after this year because he’s running for Congress.