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Legislature Adjourns

The General Assembly has officially completed this year's work session after more than eight months on the job.  House Speaker Tim Moore and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest gaveled down the session shortly after 4 a.m. once legislators finalized a large "technical corrections" bill.

That bill made several surprise changes to earlier legislation including a controversial bill that took authority away from the city of Greensboro to draw districts for City Council members.  WRAL reports that the amended law restores the city council’s right to draw its own districts.

The issue of local authority caused a stir yesterday after changes to a bill appeared that would have stripped local governments of some of their powers on issues such as affordable housing and “living wages”  – that drew the ire of city and county leaders, as well as gay rights groups – because the bill would have banned some local anti-discrimination ordinances as well.    Representative Paul “Skip” Stam pushed the measure, which received a strong rebuke in the House.  The bill was sent back to committee where the local government pre-emption measures were stripped out.   Stam also announced before adjournment that next year’s session would be his last. 

Also before the session closed a proposed $2 billion bond issue got final approval just after midnight.  That would go before voters in March.  A bill banning so-called “sanctuary cities” is heading to the governor.  And a regulatory overhaul bill that rolls back a number of environmental protections passed. 

Some higher-profile bills didn’t make the cut.  One that would have shifted more money from public schools to charter schools hit roadblocks.  So did an effort to remove a measure in the state budget that capped spending on light rail projects.  That leaves the prospect of a light rail line planned for Durham and Chapel Hill uncertain. 

Barring a veto by Gov. Pat McCrory that would cause lawmakers to return this fall, the North Carolina legislature is not supposed to reconvene until next April 25th.  

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