Votes on a state budget are expected on the House floor this week after key leaders agreed to large swaths of the budget bill late last week.
State leaders expect the budget to clear the House by Friday, Andy Munn, deputy chief of staff for House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), said.
If that happens, the legislature would be closer to matching up with claims that this Short Session would be true to its name and wrapped up well before the end of the fiscal year June 30.
Insiders within the statehouse were confident, going into the session, that leaders in the Senate and House were intent on keeping the Short Session focused and getting legislators out of town on time, unlike the protracted Long Session that far overran the start of the 2015-16 fiscal year.
Reasons offered for the intent to keep the session concise range from headaches over the controversial “bathroom bill” to a sour taste left in the mouths of many legislators after the Long Session ran until the end of August, nearly two months after the start of the 2015-16 fiscal year. Most political observers also think lawmakers want to hit the campaign trail as soon as possible.
The House Appropriations Committee is poised for another long day Tuesday, meeting from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. to hammer out details in the budget to prepare for floor votes later in the week.
The fine details of the draft budget are still being decided in committee but the entire package reportedly will fit into a $22.225 billion plan, representing a 2.3 percent increase over the current spending plan.
Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget was in line with the cap negotiated in the statehouse. McCrory’s plan came in at $22.3 billion, which would have been a 2.8 percent increase.
McCrory seems to have a lot to be happy about in the budget, including key items in health care.
The details of the budget made public so far include the $750,000 Gov. Pat McCrory requested in his budget for protection and detection efforts for defense against the Zika virus, $30 million for the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use, and funding for additional staff in the Department of Insurance.
For more information on McCrory’s spending plan read here.