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NC House unveils rest of 2-year budget plan

Gary d. Robertson, Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- House Republicans would provide $50,000 each to survivors of North Carolina's forced sterilization program, according to their state government budget proposal released Sunday night.

The two-year spending bill, expected to be voted on by the full chamber later this week, would set aside $10 million to compensate people who lost their child-bearing abilities through the state-sponsored program from 1929 through the mid-1970s.

The provision, which was endorsed in GOP Gov. Pat McCrory's budget proposal in March, puts him and the House at odds with Republicans in the Senate, who didn't insert the money in their spending proposal approved late last month. The item is one of several significant differences between the House and Senate budgets and McCrory heading into final negotiations. Lawmakers want to get a final budget to McCrory's desk by July 1.

House Republicans unveiled the entire plan two days after budget subcommittees debated and voted on most of the proposal.

The House GOP plan, which would spend $20.6 billion next year — or $12 million less than the Senate plan — also wouldn't give pay raises this coming year to state employees and teachers. The Senate didn't provide pay raises, either. McCrory wants 1 percent pay raises. The House would give five extra paid days of leave to workers and set aside $160 million for potential pay raises in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

North Carolina's eugenics laws resulted in more than 7,600 people receiving surgeries that left them unable to reproduce, though some chose to be sterilized as a form of birth control. A state panel recommended monetary compensation, and House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, led the House effort to provide the money last year, but Senate Republicans wouldn't go along with the idea.

A group set up to help North Carolina victims previously estimated up to 1,800 were still living, though it had only verified a small fraction of that number.

Like the Senate, the House's 305-page budget bill didn't provide money to meet McCrory's requests to restore funding for local drug treatment courts. The House did provide $4.8 million more money for substance abuse treatment for offenders at higher risks for recidivism.

The House and Senate plans differ on public education spending, the state's pre-kindergarten program and the future of the State Bureau of Investigation.

The House did agree with the Senate and McCrory to repeal the state's voluntary public campaign financing program for appellate court judgeships. The decision comes even though nearly all current Court of Appeals asked in a letter to preserve the program.

Both chambers would set aside $1.2 billion over the next two years to pay for the increasing costs of Medicaid.

The House budget proposal places "North Carolina's fiscal house on a sound foundation for the future," Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, the chamber's chief budget-writer, said in a news release.