Local News

Lawmakers Try to Conclude Longest Session in N.C. History

Posted December 6, 2001 6:11 a.m. EST

— Fights over a tax on newspapers and state building rules tripped up the General Assembly on Wednesday as state lawmakers tried to bring this year's marathon session to a close.

Legislative leaders had hoped to end the session, but instead were set to return Thursday to debate bills and negotiate legal language.

House Speaker Jim Black said he hoped lawmakers could conclude their business before the end of the morning.

The longest legislative session in the state's history began on January 24. Lawmakers became entangled in a protracted debate over taxes, then spent another three months trying to draw new legislative and congressional districts.

The lengthy session prompted one House member, Rep. Sam Ellis, R-Wake, to pen his own version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas." On the House floor Tuesday night, Ellis read, "For the first time in history, the mistletoe's up, and the staff's drinking eggnog from poinsettia-print cups."

Senate Minority Leader Patrick Ballantine sarcastically suggested that lawmakers need to change the "First in Flight" motto on license plates to "First in Procrastination."