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House budget raises teacher pay by 10%

The state House on Wednesday rolled out a new budget that over the next two years would raise the pay of state employees by at least 7½ percent, teachers by 10 percent, State Highway Patrol troopers by 11 percent and other law enforcement officers and corrections officers by 10 percent.

The proposed budget of $27.9 billion, a 10.5 percent increase from the previous budget, is within a number agreed upon in advance by House and Senate leaders.. 

Following the House budget release, the Senate is expected to release its version before the two chambers negotiate a compromise. Gov. Roy Cooper will be under pressure to sign the final version because Medicaid expansion, a bill he signed last week, is tied to the budget adoption. 

The House budget also contains funding to create the School of Civic Life and Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill designed to focus on developing democratic competencies based on American history and political tradition. There is also funding to move the UNC law school to a new location.

Policy measures included in the House budget include:

  • Medical Freedom/Covid-19 Vaccinations: Bars discrimination against persons based on Covid-19 vaccination status.
  • Academic Transparency: Informing the public of course materials used in a classroom.
  • Modernize Selection of Instructional Materials: Local school boards will select and adopt instructional materials for courses in elementary and secondary school.
  • Remote Charter Schools: Enables the ability for charter schools to include or be solely based on remote enrollment/learning.
  • Expand Eligibility and Revise Administration for Opportunity Scholarships: Expands eligibility for opportunity scholarships, no longer requiring children to attend public school before being eligible for the scholarships.
  • Limitations on State Funds for Abortions: Prevents state funds from being used in the performance or in support of the administration of an abortion unless certain exemption criteria are met, such as the mother’s life being in danger or the pregnancy being the result of rape.
  • Prohibit Cap and Trade Requirements for Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions: No state agency, governor, or the Department of Environmental Quality, may require certain public utilities to engage in carbon offset programs.
  • Prohibition on State or Regional Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles: Prohibits any requirements on controlling emissions on new motor vehicles.
  • Raise Mandatory Retirement Age for Appellate Judges: No justice or judge of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals may continue in office beyond the last day of the month in which the justice or judge becomes 76 years old. However, they may apply to become an emergency justice via an express letter to the governor as long as they meet certain criteria.
  • SBE/Prohibit ERIC Membership: Bars the state from becoming a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center Inc.
  • Prohibit Private Monetary Donations in Elections: Bars the State Board of Elections, any county board of elections, and any county commissioners from accepting private monetary donations for conducting elections, including employing individuals on a temporary basis.
  • Make State Bureau of Investigation Independent Department: Insulates SBI from political interference, as recently uncovered by the outgoing SBI director, by making it completely isolated.
  • Transfer State Crime Lab to Independent State Bureau of Investigation: The state crime lab would be transferred from the Department of Justice to be under the SBI.