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North Carolina GOP lawmakers pass budget that strips education funds from Democratic districts

The budget was passed at 3am.


Josh Katzowitz


Published May 14, 2017   Updated May 24, 2021, 2:29 pm CDT

Apparently frustrated by Democrats who kept offering late-night amendments to a state budget deal, North Carolina GOP state senators passed a bill that reportedly will take education money from districts represented by Democrats in order to fund opioid treatments.

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The measure passed at 3am ET Friday. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the $1 million in funding that will pay for pilot programs to fight the opioid epidemic will come from a number of Democratic counties, including more than $316,000 from Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram’s rural constituents that previously paid for a pair of early college high schools. The funding that helped a summer science, math, and technology program called Eastern North Carolina STEM also was stripped away.

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Many of the recipients of that STEM funding are African-American and from low-income areas, according to the newspaper.

“I don’t know what motivated the amendment, but it will have a devastating effect on an area that is already suffering,” Smith-Ingram told the newspaper. “… The future of children should not be caught up in a political disagreement between members.”

More from the News & Observer:

Other items cut in the late-night amendment include $200,000 to bring fresh produce to food deserts, $250,000 to fund additional staff for the N.C. Museum of Art’s recently expanded art park, and $550,000 for a downtown revitalization program. The only remaining funding for the downtown program is directed to Robeson County, which has a Republican senator.


The amendment also takes a swipe at Gov. Roy Cooper by eliminating a position in his office for a federal legislative programs coordinator.

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The budget now will move on to the state House of Representatives.

Previously, the North Carolina legislature passed an anti-LGBTQ bathroom bill that could have cost the state nearly $4 billion in the next 12 years, and last month, three Republican lawmakers proposed a bill that would ban all gay marriages in the state.

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*First Published: May 14, 2017, 1:41 pm CDT