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Lawmakers Push To Loosen Mandatory Minimums Amid Budget Stalemate

Criminal justice reform receives bipartisan support even as the budget stalls in the statehouse

Exhausted by the longest legislative session since 2001, state lawmakers are pushing through piecemeal spending measures as the full budget sits in the senate. Governor Cooper signed off on raises for most state employees, but public school teachers as well as staff at state universities and community colleges are still waiting.

If teacher raises reach Cooper’s desk next week, he will face a dilemma — support the long-awaited raises or cling to his last piece of leverage for Medicaid expansion. And qualms over redistricting may lead to another round of redrawn maps. Will voters have a say in the matter before the 2020 general elections? Meanwhile, bipartisan support for criminal justice reform bills include expungement of dismissed charges and another which would offer judges reprieve from mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for certain drug-related charges. Senator Danny Britt (R-Robeson) sponsored The Second Chance Act and The First Step Act, which encourages defendants to pursue treatment for addiction.

Host Anita Rao is joined by Sen. Britt and WUNC’s Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii to discuss the next steps for criminal justice reform and the budget impasse.

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
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