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The Latest: Legislators finalize budget, now heads to Cooper

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the North Carolina General Assembly debating adjustments to the state budget (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

The General Assembly has given final legislative approval to North Carolina budget adjustments for the coming year. Now, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper must decide whether to again formally challenge Republicans with his veto stamp.

The House voted 66-44 on Friday for the $23.9 billion spending plan after close to two more hours of debate. Members spoke much longer for and against the measure Thursday before giving it initial approval. The Senate already wrapped up its budget debate.

Cooper can sign the bill into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature. He vetoed the budget last year, but legislative Republicans overrode it.

Speaker Tim Moore said the measure is "a great budget" that provides robust state employee pay raises and continues to build on public education. But Democrats call the plan inadequate and criticized the parliamentary process Republicans used to negotiate it.

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2:55 a.m.

The North Carolina legislature's budget recipe for next year is almost complete and headed for Gov. Roy Cooper's desk.

One more affirmative vote at the General Assembly is required before the nearly $24 billion plan receives final legislative approval. That's scheduled for the House on Friday. The Senate already finished its debate and votes.

The House took over five hours Thursday before giving the measure initial approval on a nearly party-line vote. Republicans negotiating the plan for the year starting July 1 are emphasizing higher teacher and state employee pay, particularly for troopers and correctional officers.

Democrats say the changes fall short and criticized the GOP for failing to let them offer amendments.

Cooper can sign the bill into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature.