Attorney General Stein Criticizes GOP-Designed Budget Bill For Secretive Process

Attorney General Stein Criticizes GOP-Designed Budget Bill For Secretive Process

2:34pm May 30, 2018
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein speaks to reporters in Raleigh in this 2017 photo. (AP Photo/Emery Dalesio)

North Carolina’s Democratic attorney general is blasting the state legislature for the way it drew up this year’s budget bill.

Josh Stein delivered mostly criticism of the Republican-led legislature’s $24 billion spending plan.

His harshest words were directed at the process itself.

Typically, the spending plan is opened up for amendments and a period of public scrutiny before it’s made law. But this year, Republican leaders essentially finished the bill before it became public, a move Stein called, “contempt for transparency.”

"The people of this state have a right to have their voices heard about how their tax dollars are spent," he said. "Unfortunately, this closed process prevented people from even knowing what is in the budget before it was finalized. This is simply no way to govern.”

For their part, Republicans say the budget includes many provisions, including teacher pay raises, which Democrats support.

Stein also took issue with the fact that lawmakers did not fund his effort to get the state’s enormous rape kit backlog tested, something the legislature originally ordered him to investigate.

Among the few things Stein highlighted that he did like are a new Criminal Justice Fellows program designed to help lure more students into pursuing law enforcement careers, which his office designed. He also lauded the creation of public service announcements to let people know about the state’s Good Samaritan Law, which he hopes will help alleviate the state’s opioid epidemic.

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