NC legislature wraps up mini-work session
Posted November 29, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina General Assembly went home for the year Tuesday afternoon after less than three days of work.
During a midday floor session, the House voted for legislation that would impose a six-month cap on the state gasoline tax. Because the Senate adjourned shortly after midnight, the cap won't go into effect, and the gas tax will go up by 4 cents a gallon in January.
The Republican House majority also adopted a resolution over Democrats objections calling on the Democratic National Committee to give preference to North Carolina businesses when staging the 2012 presidential nominating convention in Charlotte.
Democrats argued that many contracts had already been signed for elements of the convention and that the GOP was grandstanding to make the Democrats look bad. Republicans maintained the move was strictly pushing for more jobs in North Carolina.
The brief legislative session was marked by the Senate agreeing Monday along party lines to essentially repeal a 2009 state law giving death-row prisoners a chance to challenge their sentence by using statistics to show evidence of racial discrimination.
The bill now heads to Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue, who signed the Racial Justice Act into law and could veto its repeal.
Both chambers delayed action on gambling law changes needed to implement Perdue's new casino compact with the Cherokee Indians announced Monday.
House Minority Leader Joe Hackney said the session was a waste of time and money.
"Republicans returned to Raleigh again this week with no clear purpose and left with no real successes," Hackney, D-Orange, said in a statement. "They continue to waste the time and resources of this state on frivolous matters or those that are not ready to be considered by the full body. At the same time, they continue to ignore a court order to increase their inadequate funding of early childhood education and are driving up the unemployment rate with their short-sighted plans for North Carolina."