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Public Policy Update | June 25

NC House passes a budget adjustments bill; Senate release’s “mini budget” bill; Budget negotiations stalled

In short session years, North Carolina legislators usually adjust the two-year budget passed during the previous year’s long legislative session. The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) Appropriations chairs in the House and Senate began negotiating these second-year adjustments this spring, but when the revised revenue numbers came through in April, negotiations began to break down. There is a lack of agreement on several spending priorities and the total dollar amount added to the budget across the two NCGA chambers, with the House wanting more funding spent on local and regional issues in their districts. Without any agreement, the House passed its version of a budget adjustments bill this week, which the Senate says is unlikely to be voted on by their chamber. Instead, the Senate is considering a set of “mini budgets—a set of stand-alone appropriations bills directed at specific spending areas like education and health care. The first of these bills was released this week and will be voted on the week of June 24.

What does this mean for those on the autism spectrum?

The House and Senate budgets do not include any additional funding for Innovations Home and Community-based Waiver slots, any additional rate increases for direct support professionals, any increases to special education funding, or any changes to the special ed funding formulas—all top budget priorities in the Autism Society of North Carolina’s public policy targets.

Included in the House budget is an extension on the special education report requested by the appropriations and oversight committees last year regarding options for alternative funding formulas for special education, as well as a directive from the NCGA for the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to increase Medicaid funding/billing for children in schools. The report on special education funding options was originally due in February of 2024, however, with the late passage of the budget last year, staff at the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requested additional time to gather info needed for the report.

Budget chairs have pointed out that negotiations on major budget issues are not that far off between the two chambers, however, Senate and House leadership seem to be holding firm on their respective budget proposals. This likely means legislative work on the budget will go past the June 30 deadline and into the summer months.

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