North Carolina House completes approval of 2-year budget

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The two-year state government budget assembled by Republicans in the North Carolina House is now on its way to the Senate.

The House gave its final approval to the spending package by a vote of 61-51 on Friday. The measure received tentative approval on Thursday by a largely similar margin.

Now the GOP-controlled Senate will aim to pass a competing version in the next few weeks, leading to negotiations on a compromise plan. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto stamp means he'll have input on what finally becomes law.

The House advanced its plan, which spends nearly $24 billion next year, after voting to restore on Friday funds for a proposed "virtual" pre-kindergarten pilot program in 10 school districts. Another amendment took away those funds Thursday.