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Long Hours At State Legislature Can Be Burden In Lawmakers' Lives

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RALEIGH, N.C. — It was late January when lawmakers began their legislative session.They assumed it would not last more than six months, but the current session, which is going on 11 months, is the longest and most expensive in state history. The long session is causing hassles in the business lives of the lawmakers.

Burlington Rep. Cary Allred said his pharmacutical operation is suffering since he became a lawmaker.

"Since I became a legislator, I have lost 75 percent of my business and my business is a Mom and Pop business," he said.

Sen. Bob Rucho, a Charlotte Dentist, said he worries that his role as a lawmaker leaves little time for his dentist practice.

"You expect a certain sacrifice when you are in the legislature doing what you think is right, but unfortunately, it's been a burden on my patients," he said.

Sen. Steve Metcalf's real estate business in the mountains is hurting and the four-hour drive to Raleigh is a killer.

"Eleven months have been tough. When you leave, you have things to be lined up to be gone 6 or 7 months, knowing you are coming back and forth you can deal with that," he said.

The House and Senate will work Wednesday night, but they plan to finish Thursday morning. They plan to return in May, but some say the sluggish economy could bring them back sooner.