The North Carolina General Assembly has opened its annual session as thousands of teachers descended on the Legislative Building in support of public school funding and teacher pay increases.
Speaker Tim Moore and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest gaveled in the House and Senate floor meetings shortly after noon Wednesday and legislators finished their work before 1 p.m. Moore welcomed teachers in the gallery. Over in the Senate gallery, four women were led away by police when they chanted loudly. No arrests were made.
The Senate seated a new member Wednesday - Sen. Toby Fitch of Wilson was appointed to fill the term of Sen. Angela Bryant, who resigned recently to join the parole commission.
The House Health Committee met briefly Wednesday afternoon and approved a bill designed to make it easier for out-of-state school psychologists to take similar jobs in North Carolina schools.
The opening day of North Carolina's General Assembly session will be marked by thousands of teachers descending on the Legislative Building to lobby for more school funding and higher salaries.
The gavels go down on the House and Senate floor meetings at midday Wednesday. The legislature's chief chore for the next several weeks is to adjust the state government budget.
Lawmakers will be met by public school teachers marching from the headquarters of the North Carolina Association of Educators, which organized the "March for Students and Rally for Respect." Their late-afternoon rally is scheduled in front of the Legislative Building.
The rally recently follows teacher protests and even strikes and walkouts in several other states.
Legislative Building visitors are sure to face entrance delays with new metal detectors and scanners.
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