The annual session of the North Carolina General Assembly begins as thousands of teachers descend on the Legislative Building for a school funding rally.

That should slow down formal lawmaking activity on the first day Wednesday, but all signs point to the session ending before July 4, with approving adjustments to the second year of the two-year budget the primary task of the Republican majority.

There could be another showdown between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and GOP leaders on the budget. Cooper vetoed the budget last year because he said it needlessly cut taxes for the rich and corporations when schools need more money. He still wants to block the cuts, but Republicans won’t support that.

School and prison safety, judicial redistricting and constitutional amendments also should be big topics.