- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on the North Carolina legislature considering a final budget agreement for next year (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

The North Carolina House has given its initial approval to a final budget for state government for the next 12 months.

The House voted 92-23 on Thursday for the adjustments to the current two-year budget that was approved last year. It covers the second year of that budget, which begins Friday.

The Senate already approved the $22.3 billion proposal earlier this week, with only two Democrats joining Republican senators supporting the plan. But the House saw more bipartisan backing for the plan, which provides raises to teachers and state employees and higher standard deductions on income taxes.

The measure will get one more House vote Friday before it goes to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk.

4:55 p.m.

The full House has begun debating the final compromise on the North Carolina state budget for the coming year.

Preliminary approval of the measure by the Republican-led chamber was expected after debate Thursday that’s expected to last a couple of hours. A final vote would come Friday.

The Senate already approved the $22.3 billion proposal, which adjusts the second year of the two-year budget already in place. The measure ultimately would go to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature. He’s expressed no public opposition to the bill.

House Republicans on the floor are praising the final budget for raising teacher pay and investing more in mental health and helping more Medicaid recipients with disabilities. But Democrats are critical of spending on earmarked projects they say could have been used to improve public school funding.

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11:10 a.m.

The North Carolina General Assembly could give Gov. Pat McCrory’s office $500,000 to help him defend House Bill 2 in court.

Legislation to make small and technical changes to a separate state budget agreement would take the money from $10 million allocated for disaster relief fund to use for the legal costs. The legislation earmarking the $500,000 cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

House Bill 2, which has drawn national attention, limits anti-discrimination rules protecting LGBT people and directs transgender men and women to use public restrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificates. Civil rights groups and transgender residents have sued to overturn these provisions. McCrory and the U.S. Justice Department also have filed competing lawsuits.

Senate budget-writer Harry Brown says McCrory’s office asked for the funds but didn’t know if the governor would need them.

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4:10 a.m.

It’s now the House’s turn to debate the final budget adjustments for the North Carolina government for the new fiscal year starting Friday.

The full House scheduled the first of two required votes Thursday on the $22.3 billion plan.

The Senate already held its votes Tuesday and Wednesday. All Republicans and two Democrats in the Senate ended up supporting the plan, which raises teacher and state employee pay and increases standard deductions for income tax filers. Other Democrats don’t like the spending on scholarships for students to attend private K-12 schools and on local projects.

Once approved, the final budget will go to Gov. Pat McCrory for his expected signature.

Many legislators want to go home for the year this weekend, but they may return after the July 4 holiday.

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