Last week, the state House unveiled their budget proposal and while the full plan will come out early this week, the nearly $22 billion proposal reflects a clear upswing in the economy, with less cuts to major policy areas. Indeed, education, transportation and health care were all allocated additional funds in this budget, evidence of the $400 million projected revenue surplus that was announced in recent weeks.

Economy and Economic Development

WRAL: House Budget Plan Modest, Targeted 

The state House unveiled their budget proposal on Thursday, and it clearly reflects an upswing in North Carolina’s economy. Transportation, education and healthcare all saw increases funding.

NEWS & OBSERVER: Audit Finds Flaws in Upgrade of NC Core Banking System 

A new state audit has found flaws in work to upgrade the state’s Core Banking system, a financial behemoth that handles money collected and disbursed by every state agency, institution, university and community college.

Education

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: McCrory Signs Bill to Extend More Lenient School Performance Grading Scale

North Carolina schools will have their performance graded under a more lenient scale for a second year under a bill signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory this week. For the first time this year, each public school in the state was assigned a letter grade, “A” through “F,” based primarily on student standardized test scores.

WRAL: Proposals Aim to Get More People in NC Teacher Pipeline 

A House committee on Tuesday approved two measures designed to boost teacher recruitment in the state. House Bill 844 would set aside $2.9 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year and $5.4 million in the following year to create a loan program for students planning to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or special education classes.

Healthcare

GREENSBORO NEWS & RECORD: NC Health Mandates Get Rosier Views at General Assembly

Several bills have cleared at least one chamber in the General Assembly this year that place new demands upon insurers — some to provide autism services, lower co-payments for certain cancer drugs and treat chiropractors like primary care providers.

WINSTON SALEM JOURNAL: Auditor: N.C. Health Agency Wasted $1.7M on Medicaid Payroll

The State Auditor’s Office report released today found evidence of at least $1.67 million in “wasted” wages and compensation involving the use of temporary employees by the state’s Medicaid information technology unit. The audit covers the Office of Medicaid Management Information Systems Services, which handled the July 2013 launch of the controversial NCTracks claims-processing system that serves 97,000 enrolled providers.

In the Courts

GREENSBORO NEWS & RECORD: North Carolina Courts Inching Towards Digital Integration

Forty-two years after the legal drama “The Paper Chase” debuted in theaters, the business of law and the application of justice rely on hard copies more than many sectors. And the weight of that paper has become a hindrance to the efficiency of state courts. Last Thursday, the state House issued parts of its budget recommendations, including those for public safety and the judiciary.

NEWS & OBSERVER: Prosecutors Drop IRS Seizure Case Against Fairmont Convenience Store Owner 

Lyndon McLellan, a convenience store owner in rural Robeson County, became an emblem for the many ways that IRS seizure and civil forfeiture laws have dogged run-of-the-mill business owners who operate with cash. For nearly a year, the 50-year-old Fairmont man has been fighting the federal government to recover the $107,702.66 seized from his business account without any allegations of crime.

Transportation

NEWS & OBSERVER: NC Senate Bill Would End Blue-Law Ban on Sunday Trips for Oversized Trucks

Legislation moving through the Senate would repeal old state regulations that traditionally have prevented farmers and truckers from hauling oversize loads on Sundays and some holidays. “It was really a holdover from the old blue laws” that limited business activity on the Sabbath, said Kevin Lacy, the state Department of Transportation’s chief traffic engineer.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: DOT: I-77 Toll Lanes Will Not Be Delayed 

The controversial Interstate 77 toll lane project will not be delayed, the N.C. Department of Transportation said last Thursday. A non-compete clause means the DOT would likely have to compensate the private developer if the state decides to add new free lanes to the highway over the next 50 years.