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Governor Cooper To Discuss State Budget

Governor Roy Cooper may indicate today whether he’ll sign or veto the $24 billion state budget lawmakers passed last week.

The governor has scheduled a news conference this afternoon in which he’ll discuss the budget.

Cooper and other Democrats pushed for higher teacher raises than the average 6.5 percent Republican lawmakers agreed to in the plan.

The governor also wanted to block some income tax breaks set to take place next year. He has until Monday to sign or veto the plan. Republicans in the General Assembly hold veto-proof majorities.

Also On Cooper’s Desk

A judicial remapping plan for district judges in Mecklenburg and Wake Counties has been sent to Cooper's desk for signature. District judges in both counties would no longer be elected county-wide. Instead, Mecklenburg County would be divided into eight electoral districts and voters in each district would choose two or three judges. Superior court electoral districts would also be redrawn to match those. Republican lawmakers say the bill would correct population imbalances in those superior court districts that are likely unconstitutional.

Many Mecklenburg district judges expressed concern over similar bills last year that would have divided the county into multiple districts. They say dividing the district would take away the ability of citizens to vote for most of the judges that sit in the county.

Legislation containing several election changes has now cleared the General Assembly and is also on Cooper's desk, including a measure that would require many state and county election board workers to receive criminal background checks. The measure would also prevent candidates who lose in a primary from running for the same office in the general election as a member of a different political party. Also under the legislation, candidates for trial and appellate court races would have their registered party affiliation or unaffiliated status beside their names on the ballot.