RALEIGH, N.C. — The Latest on the General Assembly considering several pieces of legislation (all times local):
The Republican-dominated legislature has completed its ninth override from among Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s 12 vetoes so far this year, this one on a wide-ranging regulatory bill.
The House voted late Thursday to make the measure state law despite Cooper’s objections that it rolled back water quality protections, particularly on stormwater restrictions for building projects. The Senate’s override vote that occurred several hours before also exceeded the three-fifths threshold required.
The override vote was the House’s last action before members wrapped up a special session that began Wednesday. The Senate left town late Thursday afternoon. The chambers plan to hold perfunctory floor meetings for the next two weeks so Cooper has only 10 days — not 30 — to sign or veto legislation they approved during the special session. Otherwise, the next special session is scheduled for January.
A redrawn map of North Carolina’s election districts for trial court judges and local prosecutors has cleared the House. But it won’t be taken up by the Senate — if it all — until at least January.
The House voted 69-43 late Thursday for the redistricting, which the chief Republican that led the effort says would bring uniformity and fairness to how District and Superior Court judges are elected. Rep. Justin Burr says it’s time to act because court leaders and lawmakers have failed to do so for several decades.
Democrats voting against the measure said urban counties that favor their party are split so that more Republicans will be elected. They also suggested litigation was likely because the maps could force an inordinate number of black judges to run against each other.
Senators earlier Thursday wrapped up their work for a special session. The next session begins Jan. 10.
Legislation getting final General Assembly approval means there would be no primaries for North Carolina court races in 2018 only while lawmakers weigh whether to redraw judicial districts or possibly change how judges are elected.
The Republican-controlled House and Senate voted separately Thursday for the bill, which is likely to get a hard look from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
The elections measure also would permanently ease thresholds that new political parties or unaffiliated candidates now must meet to get on the ballot. And it also includes a provision to reduce the percentage of votes a leading candidate must have to avoid a primary runoff elsewhere from more than 40 percent to 30 percent.
Democrats voting against the bill argued the elimination of judicial primaries next year was too rash. The filing period for judicial candidates also would be delayed from February to June.
North Carolina legislative leaders want to send to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk a bill that would eliminate judicial primary elections next year only, while reducing permanently the threshold necessary to avoid primary runoffs any other time.
The elections measure is among those House and Senate members are likely to debate and vote on before a special General Assembly session wraps up as soon as Thursday.
GOP leaders say not having judicial primaries in 2018 could give lawmakers more time to fashion new election districts for judgeships and local prosecutors. Judicial candidate filing also would be delayed.
The legislature reconvened Wednesday and overrode Cooper’s veto of a bill containing money to address the GenX discharge into the Cape Fear River. Cooper wanted more funds and dedicate them to state water-quality agencies.