N.C. State senior gets her share of budget talks

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJuly 15, 2014 

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— Lauren Frederick, a rising senior at N.C. State and graduate of East Wake High School, loves to be outside so it was confusing to family and friends when she took a job that keeps her inside during the summer, poring over several versions of the state budget.

But proofreading bills for the General Assembly has really been an exercise in becoming an informed citizen, Frederick said.

“With an election year coming up, (reading bills) keeps you informed with what’s going on in the state,” she said. “You feel you know a little more.”

This is Frederick’s third session working in the bill processing office of the legislature. It’s her job to make sure spelling is accurate, bills are formatted and put together correctly and all references to amendments, financial studies and the like are accurate before a bill is presented and filed away as a law.

Frederick is an environmental science major at State but she edited East Wake High School’s newspaper, which made her think the job could work for her.

“I was a lifeguard before I started at the legislature and I was just looking for … something that was to get my foot in the door,” she said. Frederick says she isn’t interested in the politics associated with the bills, but a few bills that spoke to her interest in environmental science have made it to her desk this year.

Frederick said in class last semester, she learned about fracking and coal reactions. The legislature passed a fracking bill last month and is still dealing with the coal ash spill from earlier this year.

But Frederick also has to deal with the biggest bill of this session: the state budget.

She’s already read, proofed and collated two versions of the budget – both the House and Senate versions.

The document – each more than 300 pages come down in pieces to her office. The first one that comes through (this year it was the House version) has no labels. Frederick reads and edits the provisions individually and once complete, takes one final look at the finished document.

She has to do it again with the Senate’s budget, although it’s sometimes easier if one borrows from another on budget items.

And any day, Frederick is expecting the final budget to come by from a group made up of representative and senators.

“Hopefully that time it will be approved,” she said.

If so, she’ll go through the combined document one more time and then the bill will go to processing, where it will become the official version of the law.

Frederick said she’s enjoyed her time at the General Assembly, but this may be her last year, as internships and graduate school call.

“I’m not particularly interested in politics,” she said “It’s a cool working environment (though).”

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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