Good afternoon, I hope everyone is having a great week.
I know I have talked about budget negotiations over the past few weeks, but this week, I am pleased to announce that the Senate and House have reached a budget agreement, which became public Monday evening.
I would like to thank my fellow legislators and staff for the hours of work they have put in to reach this agreement. The agreement we have reached represents a compromise between the two chambers and funds the main priorities set forth by each.
The Senate voted to concur with the budget on second reading yesterday and will vote again today. The House hopes to vote on the budget by the end of the week. You can view the full budget conference report by clicking on the following link: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/budget/2015/H97-PCCS30420-LRxfr-6.pdf. Over the next few weeks, I will include details and highlights of the budget in a section below.
Question of the Week
Thank you to everyone who responded to last week’s question and let me know what issues they want to see addressed in the newsletter. The newsletter is one of the tools that I have to reach out to the roughly 200,000 people I represent, and everyone’s opinion is important to me.
Last week, the number one issue we had requested to discuss was the effort defund Planed Parenthood. In 2011, we voted to cut all state money going to Planned Parenthood. However, a judge ruled that action unconstitutional, claiming that it singled out Planned Parenthood.
We have revisited this issue in this year’s budget by blocking the Department of Health and Human Services from renewing or extending existing contracts or entering into new contracts for the provision of family planning services, pregnancy prevention activities, or adolescent parenting programs with any provider that performs abortions.
For this week’s question, I would like to get your opinion on a potential bond package. We are currently discussing putting a referendum on the ballot for a bond. Out of the following categories, what area do you think should receive the highest priority?
The Community College System
State Agency Needs
The National Guard
I look forward to hearing from you.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can assist you in any way possible.
Brent Jackson is a N.C. senator representing District 10, which includes Sampson, Duplin and Johnston counties.