During a vote at 3 a.m. on Friday morning, angry Republicans in the North Carolina state Senate cut education funding from the districts of Democratic senators.
The News and Observer reported that Republicans had become frustrated after Democrats forced vote after vote on budget amendments during a session that began on Thursday and went into the early hours of Friday morning.
Republicans eventually called for a two hour recess after negotiations between Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue and Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger appeared to break down.
When the session resumed around 3 a.m., Republican Sen. Brent Jackson introduced an amendment that provided an extra $1 million to fight the opioid epidemic. The amendment was passed before Democrats noticed that the $1 million had been taken from education funding in their districts.
Democratic Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram’s district lost $316,646 that was earmarked for two rural high schools. The amendment also banned the school from using existing funds for the Eastern North Carolina STEM program, which promotes science, math and technology.
“I don’t know what motivated the amendment, but it will have a devastating effect on an area that is already suffering,” Smith-Ingram told The News and Observer on Saturday.
She said that the program would be shut down unless Republicans agreed to fund it before the budget was finalized.
“The future of children should not be caught up in a political disagreement between members,” Smith-Ingram insisted.