State lawmakers voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of their $23.9 billion General Fund budget for the new budget year that starts July 1. Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation senior vice president, shares highlights from the new budget. Gray discusses key components of the spending plan and how they reflect legislative priorities. A new N.C. State University study shows that North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program demonstrates “positive, large, and statistically significant” benefits for low-income students. That’s good news to Brian Jodice, interim president of the group Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina. Jodice assesses the significance of the researchers’ findings and looks ahead to future assessments of the Opportunity Scholarship vouchers. N.C. legislators have been considering multiple ways to improve public school safety. Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, has been disappointed to see them ignore his proposal. During a recent news conference, Pittman and Paul Valone of the gun-rights group Grass Roots North Carolina touted potential benefits of a bill that would have allowed some school teachers to carry concealed handguns to protect students. It’s hard to gauge the state’s economic health without paying attention to its businesses. Dane Huffman, managing editor of the Triangle Business Journal, spends his working day talking to business people about their challenges and success stories. Huffman shares his insights about business leaders’ assessment of current N.C. economic conditions. North Carolina has good laws against civil asset forfeiture abuse, but a federal process called “equitable sharing” helps local law enforcement agencies get around the state law. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, says “equitable sharing” represents a significant threat to property rights.