House approves new map, holds off on veto overrides

Posted August 28

— The state House signed off on its redistricting plan Monday and punted, for at least a couple of days, on a trio of potential veto overrides.

It also set the stage to take up judicial redistricting between now and the end of October, potentially redrawing prosecutorial and judicial districts.

Votes on the legislative maps fell along party lines Monday, save for two House Republicans who declined to support the majority's response to a court-ordered redraw. That House map goes now to the state Senate for approval, and the Senate map is expected to cross over into the House following a final vote in the Senate on Monday evening.

The two bodies will take up each other's maps in committee Tuesday, with the Senate meeting at 10 a.m. and the House at 1 p.m. Floor votes are expected to follow on Wednesday or Thursday.

The House's redistricting floor debate Monday lasted less than an hour and a half, with Democrats reiterating concerns with the majority party's redraw. The proposed district lines in Wake County changed again thanks to a floor amendment that state Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, point man for Republicans on redistricting, said makes the county's districts more compact.

No one rose to debate the change, and the vote was 64-46 in favor. All Democrats save state Rep. William Brisson, D-Bladen, voted against the amendment. Reps. Nathan Dollar, R-Wake, and Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, were the only Republicans voting against it.

Pittman also ran an amendment to avoid being drawn into the same district as state Rep. Carl Ford, R-Rowan, proposing instead that Ford and state Rep. Linda Johnson, R-Cabarrus, take the double-bunking necessitated by the redraw. Pittman was voted down 7-102.

He and state Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, were then the only two House Republicans to vote against the overall House plan.

Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, who is double-bunked with Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, under the proposed map, said he will likely move into eastern Guilford County to avoid running against Faircloth in a primary next year.

Hardister currently represents the 59th District, which he is being drawn out of, so he would move to remain in the new 59th District, which wouldn't otherwise have an incumbent.

Veto overrides delayed again

As for the veto overrides, they started Monday on the House calendar but are now slated for debate and votes on Wednesday. The GOP super-majority has hesitated to move on several of Gov. Roy Cooper's vetoes, and it remains to be seen whether the votes are there to overturn.

House Bill 205 would allow local governments in Guilford County to run legal notices online instead of paying to advertise them in local newspapers. It passed the House in June without the three-fifths threshold needed to override.

House Bill 511 provides a carve out from the state's anti-gambling laws to allow charities to hold casino-night events. It passed the General Assembly with enough votes to beat back the veto, but not if the 30-plus Democrats who voted for it switch positions to support Cooper's veto.

House Bill 576's chances are even more questionable. It would allow landfills to spray the liquid that leaches out of the trash back onto the landfill, the theory being that the water evaporates and the heavier elements simply fall into the pile. But a pair of waste disposal companies said last week that they're no longer interested in using the process.

More redistricting on tap

On judicial redistricting, Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, was named chairman Monday of a House committee to review the matter. Burr rolled out a statewide redraw of judicial mapsin June, taking judges and district attorneys across the state by surprise.

Burr said Monday that he has since had about a dozen meetings around the state with members of the judiciary. He said to expect some changes, but that overall the new maps will be very similar to what he proposed in June.

He also said he's shooting for October votes to approve the maps in the House. Speaker Tim Moore said Monday that he expects to be in session the second week of October, replacing a previously planned September session.


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