The Latest: Judicial district maps clear committee

October 04, 2017 - 8:35 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the North Carolina General Assembly meeting again to consider another veto by Gov. Roy Cooper and take up other business (all times local):

8:35 p.m.

A redraw of North Carolina election districts for trial court judges and local prosecutors has cleared a key committee and is headed to the House floor.

The House Rules Committee voted Wednesday night for the new boundaries for District Court and Superior Court seats and for district attorneys. Although portions of the maps have been tweaked over the years, there hasn't been a statewide rewrite since the 1950s.

Criticism by panel members was muted after GOP bill sponsor Rep. Justin Burr offered changes and backed requests by Democrats for judicial districts in the east and Sandhills.

A full House vote is expected Thursday. Senators have been cool to district changes, however, and Senate leader Phil Berger told colleagues it was unlikely it would be taken up before this week's special session ends.


7:35 p.m.

Republican leaders at the General Assembly are advancing bills they hope to get through one or both chambers before wrapping up a special legislative session later this week.

House and Senate negotiators unveiled late Wednesday a hodgepodge measure containing mostly minor changes to the state budget approved in June. But it also included some directives that didn't sit well with some appropriations committee members hearing the bill.

Democrats were unhappy with a measure telling Attorney General Josh Stein he can't make local district attorneys handle criminal appeals even as the budget ordered his office to locate $10 million in cuts. A few House Republicans also expressed dismay over a provision making permanent a grant program to attract film and television product credits.

A House committee meeting Wednesday night also considered redrawing judicial election boundaries and lowering thresholds for some candidates to get on ballots.


12:10 p.m.

An environmental bill that includes some money to address the discharge of a little-studied chemical into a North Carolina river will become law despite Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's objections.

The Republican-dominated General Assembly completed an override of Cooper's veto Wednesday by a Senate vote of 30-9. The margin in the House vote earlier Wednesday favoring override also exceeded the constitutional requirement.

The measure gives $435,000 to help Wilmington-area utilities and a university respond to treat and remove from the Cape Fear River the chemical GenX, which was dumped into the river for years until recently. Cooper and his allies said the money would not address broader water-quality needs in the state and asked for $2.6 million for two Cabinet agencies.

The measure also repeals a ban on Outer Banks stores providing plastic bags to customers.


11:20 a.m.

The North Carolina General Assembly is back at work in Raleigh and already close to overriding Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of an environmental bill that in part includes money for water testing and treatment of a chemical discharged into a river.

The House and Senate gaveled in a veto-override session Wednesday morning. Within an hour the House voted 70-44 to pass the measure notwithstanding Cooper's objections. The Senate would still have to agree to the override, and Senate leader Phil Berger has urged that to happen.

Cooper rejected the bill approved in late August because he wanted $2.6 million for water quality protections statewide in the light of the disclosure of GenX into the Cape Fear River. The measure instead gave $435,000 to Wilmington-area utilities and a university.


3:55 a.m.

The North Carolina General Assembly is meeting for the third time since wrapping up its main work session in June, the result of more conflict with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and apparent unfinished business among Republicans.

The House and Senate reconvene Wednesday for a session that some GOP leaders anticipate will be over by the end of the week.

They must decide whether to override Cooper's veto of an environmental bill that in part set aside money for water testing and treatment of the chemical GenX that was discharged into the Cape Fear River. Cooper wanted more money for water quality protections statewide.

House Republicans also have a laundry list of other items they'd like to consider before adjourning, with advancing legislation that redraws judicial election boundaries a primary goal.

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