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State Legislature Starts To Wind Down After Long Session

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A record-setting legislative session is coming to an end, but the work is still not complete.

Consideration of the lottery and cleaner air legislation are just two major issues that are longshots as the state legislature prepares to wind down after 295 days of work.

Pressure is building in the Legislature's final hours for a vote on the lottery. House Speaker Jim Black said the votes are not there and House Majority Whip Rep. Andy Dedmon agrees.

"We don't have it, and I don't think there is an appetite within this building right now to do that," Dedmon said.

Other measures lacking a majority of House votes include Power Plant Smokestack cleanup and a meals tax for the town of Monroe.

The Senate enters the home stretch this week with discussion on Gov. Easley's plan against bioterrorism and legislative and congressional redistricting that favors the election of Democrats. Republicans have sued to force the drawing of new maps.

"We feel very good about it. Of course, we know it's a long road. We are cautiously optimistic, but we think we have a good chance," said Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston).

Lawmakers may have adjournment in mind, but they are expected to be back in Raleigh as early as January. The budget will need further adjustments because of the weak economy.

Lawmakers also face the possibility of a special session, should the courts or the Justice Department reject redistricting plans.

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