The Senate passed a $19.7 billion compromise budget by a vote of 31-19. Democratic amendments went down by the same county. Those amendments included restoring funding for the Gaston County Parkway, restricting the Health and Human Services Secretary from cutting Medicaid programs, restoring funding for Planned Parenthood and restoring sentencing services.
Republicans offered a couple. Republican Senators wanted to bypass the Democratic Attorney General to request approval by the U.S. Justice Department of redistricting maps thinking he might stall the process. That job would be handed over to the Legislative Services Commission to assure quick action.
But there were a lot of complaints from Democrats over that and Republican Senator Bob Rucho got an amendment passed that would give the Attorney General time to file for approval from the U.S. Justice Department on the redrawn maps. However, if he didn’t do it in a timely manner then the commission would go ahead and file.
There was a lot talk from Democratic Senators about refusing to raise taxes to avoid what they called “draconian” cuts to Education and other areas. So Republican Senator Tom Apodaca offered an amendment to give those Democrats a chance to vote for a tax increase. His amendment would have restored the 3/4 cent sales tax increase that is supposed to expire. Clearly the Democrats didn’t want to go on record voting for a tax increase. The amendment failed 3-47.
The bill went to the House by special messenger and a vote is expected Friday and early Saturday morning.