Raleigh, N.C. – Budget funds to support North Carolina’s criminal justice reform to ‘Raise the Age’ of juvenile jurisdiction was approved again by the state House of Representatives on Wednesday as the Governor’s veto continues to block billions of taxpayer dollars for immediate needs in education, public safety, and other critical areas of state government.
House Bill 1001 Raise the Age Funding is consistent with the vetoed state budget’s provisions to cover costs associated with Raise the Age reform and appropriates over $77 million to local prosecutors, court systems, the Department of Public Safety, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the Office of Indigent Defense Services.
The General Assembly’s funding for Raise the Age implementation exceeds the Governor’s recommendation in his budget proposal.
The bill renews the General Assembly’s push to fund additional district court judges and assistant district attorneys to support Raising the Age of juvenile jurisdiction in counties across North Carolina.
State House Appropriations Committee Co-Chair Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), a leader in accomplishing Raise the Age reform and providing budget funds to support its implementation, said Wednesday the measures would reduce recidivism among youth and save taxpayer dollars.
“We are honoring our commitment to child advocates, law enforcement, district attorneys, and judges by making the investments in our juvenile justice system associated with raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction in North Carolina,” Rep. McGrady said.
“This funding is critical to reducing recidivism among our youth and saving taxpayer dollars by getting 16 and 17 year-olds out of the adult criminal justice system.”
State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said the Raise the Age funding is another example why the state budget should have been signed by the Governor instead of being blocked for the last three months.
“When you look at all the incredible good that is in our $24 billion state budget, for public safety, for schools, for health care and local communities – it is unconscionable these funds are still being blocked by the Governor over a single issue while he plays politics with the critical needs of North Carolinians,” Speaker Moore said.
“While I am pleased to see the Raise the Age funding pass the House again today, it is truly regrettable the Governor has never signed a state budget; that he has stood in the way of these funds for the people of our great state in favor of political ultimatums.”
Since the Governor’s budget veto, the General Assembly has also approved stand-alone appropriations bills to fund Medicaid transformation, state employee and law enforcement pay raises, sexual assault kit testing, school safety initiatives, disaster relief, matching funds for federal grants, and more.
Only the Medicaid transformation funding was vetoed again by the Governor.
Nearly $2 billion in education capital funds for school systems and higher education campuses across North Carolina remains blocked by the Governor’s budget veto.