The North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 259 on Sept. 22 in a 70-40 midnight vote by the state House of Representatives and a 26-17 vote in the state Senate later in the morning. 

Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement following passage of HB259 on Sept. 22, explaining that while he will not sign the bill into law, he also won’t veto it — allowing HB259 to become law in 10 days. 

"Health insurance for 600,000 more North Carolinians that brings more mental health and substance use disorder treatment, help for desperate rural hospitals and billions of dollars into our economy is a life-saving, monumental decision for our state,” Cooper said in the press release. “Overall this is a bad budget that seriously shortchanges our schools, prioritizes power grabs, keeps shady backroom deals secret and blatantly violates the constitution, and many of its provisions will face legal action.”

The fiscal budget comes months after the start of the current fiscal year in June. The budget has been delayed because of disagreements between the House and Senate — both of which are Republican-controlled. 

Previously, both chambers were deadlocked over the budget, with Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger pushing for legalizing casinos, while Speaker Tim Moore wanted to expand statewide Medicaid. 

Both the House and the Senate came to a compromise on Tuesday, when Moore and Berger announced that they would proceed with Medicaid expansion but not casino legalization in the budget. 

With the passage of HB259, vehicle emissions inspections will no longer be required in Guilford, Alamance and 17 other counties. Only Mecklenburg County will still require emissions inspections. 

A total of $975,000 will be allocated each year to the Department of Public Instruction for  a contract with Amplio Special Education Learning Platform to make a pilot program for a “special education digital intervention software platform” that will be used in Alamance County schools. This program will be used for students with special needs. 

The budget also allocated $200,000 for water and wastewater infrastructure projects for the Village of Alamance.

The bill also includes a section that will not require legislators to reveal to the public any document from their time working in the North Carolina General Assembly.