Weekly Wrap: Lawmakers leave town

Posted September 1

— The General Assembly has once again fled Raleigh – until at least early October – but caused a lot of news in the two weeks they were here.

Lawmakers approved new voting district maps for the House and the Senate to replace ones the federal courts ruled included illegal racial gerrymanders. The three judges who tossed the earlier maps still must approve the new ones, or they could decide to draw maps themselves for the 2018 elections.

Meanwhile, a federal court ruled that a separate challenge to the congressional map lawmakers drew last year to replace a similarly racially gerrymandered one could move forward. The lawsuit alleges that the effort to produce as much of a Republican advantage as possible amounts to an illegal partisan gerrymander.

The General Assembly also completed the override of two vetoes Gov. Roy Cooper issued. One new law expands credit property insurance, while the other allows former state Republican Party lawyer Bill Peaslee to collect two salaries for holding two state positions.

Before leaving town, lawmakers also passed legislation that both provides some funding to begin studying the effects of the unregulated chemical GenX, which has been found in drinking water in the Wilmington area, and repeals the ban on plastic bags on the Outer Banks that has been in effect since 2009.

Finally, Rep. Chris Millis, R-Pender, won't be returning to the Legislative Building with his colleagues in October, having announced his resignation. Millis was the driving force behind an effort to impeach Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and legislation that would eliminate the requirement to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun.


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