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North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein Cuts Staff Following Budget Cuts

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's Democratic attorney general is responding to budget cuts imposed by Republican lawmakers by laying off about 9 percent of his agency's attorneys and telling local prosecutors they'll have to take over more courtroom tasks.

Attorney General Josh Stein on Thursday described his response to legislators deciding in June to cut $10 million from his budget despite objections from police chiefs and district attorneys. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's office operations were also cut.

"We had to let go three lawyers with vast knowledge, handling criminal appeals of convicted child sex offenders.  This work is difficult.  It's emotionally draining, and obviously critical", Stein said during a conference call with reporters.  he was joined on that call by local district attorneys who said the cuts the state Department of Justice will increase the workloads for their offices.  

Stein says this week's layoffs represent a third of the required cut and he's lining up funding promises from other state agencies to avoid more. He's asking lawmakers to restore $3 million.  He warns if that does not happen, further job cuts could occur.

House Speaker Tim Moore says Stein has enough money to keep the criminal justice process moving.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. (Matt Bush of Blue Ridge Public Radio also contributed to this story)

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.