Last week was eventful at the legislature. The General Assembly approved the state budget on Friday. This year’s budget makes adjustments to the two-year budget passed last summer.
The budget was released as a conference report, meaning that no amendments were permitted and it was voted on with an up or down vote. Typically, each chamber releases its own budget and the differences are worked out in a conference committee. Deviating from historical norms, the NC General Assembly skipped part of this process, minimizing the committee and amendment process
There were several items we were working on and we are pleased to report that the following items were included:
Increase in tobacco program funding
- $250,000 in nonrecurring funds for teen tobacco use prevention programs in addition to $1 million in nonrecurring funds appropriated over the biennium in last year's budget.
- $250,000 in recurring funds for North Carolina's cessation services in addition to the $500,000 in recurring funds appropriated in last year's budget.
- $300,000 in recurring funds for the Alcohol Law Enforcement Branch (ALE) to enforce the law governing youth access to tobacco and language giving ALE the authority to do so.
Funding to continue increasing access to healthy foods in communities that need them most
- $250,000 in nonrecurring funds for the Healthy Food Small Retailer Program. This builds upon similar funding appropriated in 2016 and 2017.
Now lawmakers will turn their attention to other policy issues. The Governor has ten days to decide if he will sign, veto or simply allow the budget to become law without his signature. We will continue to follow the process and keep you updated.