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North Carolina General Assembly Update: The 2024 Short Session Begins, ICE Bill, and Opportunity Scholarship Expansion

Updated: May 20

Checkmate Government Relations brings years of experience providing clients in a diverse range of industries with comprehensive policy and advocacy advice before federal, state, and local agencies. In North Carolina, we advise local municipalities, corporate transportation entities, nonprofit organizations, statewide associations, government vendors, and Fortune 500 companies before the North Carolina General Assembly and executive branch.

While the legislature is in session, our team provides weekly updates on the activity at the NC General Assembly this week. Please feel free to contact a member of the team with any questions or visit for more information about our services.

Short Session Begins

The 2024 North Carolina legislative short session convened on April 24th. The short session takes place on even-numbered years and is typically used to address unfinished policy items and budget corrections from the long session. Governor Cooper presented the legislature with his Budget Recommendations while House and Senate Appropriations Chairs work on their own proposal. North Carolina has a projected $1.4 billion surplus in state revenues through Fiscal Year (FY) 2025. The surplus is expected to be used to fund the Opportunity Scholarship program, childcare shortages, and teacher pay raises.

ICE Bill

This week, the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee approved a proposed committee substitute for HB10, Require Sheriffs to Cooperate with ICE. This bill requires sheriffs to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the United States Department of Homeland Security and to honor immigration detainers and administrative warrants. The bill would require ICE to be notified when an individual, charged with certain offenses, is in custody and their legal residency or United States citizenship status is undetermined. Judicial officers would be required to order prisoners, subject to detainers and administrative warrants, be held in custody for 48 hours, or until ICE resolves the request. The bill passed its third reading on the Senate floor Thursday morning and will be sent to the Governor.

School Choice Funding Bill

A proposed committee substitute for HB823, Eliminate School Choice Program Waitlists, passed on the Senate floor. The bill will return to the House for a concurrence vote before being sent to the Governor. H823 provides additional funding for the Opportunity Scholarship grant program and the North Carolina Personal Education Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities Program. The General Assembly eliminated income requirements for the Opportunity Scholarship program last year, opening the door for a broader range of families to apply. The high demand for these state-funded vouchers created a waitlist, leaving many families in North Carolina still waiting for approval. Senator Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) was a sponsor of this bill and a strong advocate for clearing the waitlist. The current budget bill includes $191.5 million for the voucher program for the 2024-2025 school year, and the funding will increase to $415.5 million for the 2025-2026 school year. The Senate’s proposal would add another $215.5 million to that amount for 2025-2026 and subsequent years.

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