NC General Assembly opens work session Wednesday, protests alrea - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

NC General Assembly opens work session Wednesday, protests already planned

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North Carolina's Legislature opens for its annual work session, with Republican lawmakers focused on increasing teacher pay, closing a Medicaid spending shortfall and cleaning up coal ash ponds following the Dan River spill.

The House and Senate are scheduled to open floor meetings for the new session at noon Wednesday. The key task of lawmakers during this session is to adjust the second year of the two-year budget approved last summer.

A study committee examining the effects of the federal health care overhaul on North Carolina planned to try again to meet Wednesday morning after failing to draw enough members Tuesday to perform business. Several House members stayed away because they don't like a bill that would place an 18-month moratorium on new insurance mandates while they're being studied.

Rep. Charles Jeter of Huntersville says the bill is a problem because it could conflict with another bill that passed the House in 2013 that would require health insurance providers to cover autism diagnosis and treatment. The Senate hasn't yet heard that bill.

Several liberal groups opposed to Republican policies plan to protest throughout opening day.

The NAACP will announce plans to resurrect the Moral Monday protests and the North Carolina Association of Educators will petition Republican leaders.

Like last year, Action NC, a liberal social justice group, plans to protest by banging on pots with spoons.

Gov. Pat McCrory's proposed adjustments to the North Carolina state government budget are expected to show how he'll pay for teacher and state employee salary increases next year.

McCrory and state budget director Art Pope are expected to disclose Wednesday what the governor would like legislators to change in the second year of the two-year budget starting July 1.

Pope and the governor have been mum about how they would find money to pay for proposed across-the-board raises for educators and state workers. The price tag for these and already announced raises for early-career teachers is about $250 million.

Pope says there's money to cover a roughly $450 million budget shortfall for this fiscal year.

WBTV's David Whisenant is in Raleigh and will have the latest on the first day of the work session when it begins at noon.

Copyright 2014 WBTV with The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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