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1999 Session Winds Down, Legislators Not Done Yet

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RALEIGH — The 1999 session of theGeneral Assemblyis winding down. From roads to schools, changes are coming for the way people live.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle will say their list of accomplishments is a long one, and they are not done yet.

Perhaps legislators' biggest feat waspassing a budget on timefor the first time in 20 years.

"We increased the salaries, still trying to reach the level of the national average for teachers' pay," saidRep. Mickey Michaux.

Lawmakers also agreed on how to split up North Carolina's $4.6 billion share of thenational tobacco settlement. Another big money issue, a half-billion dollar intagibles tax refund, was settled.

"That measure has been settled, and the refunds will be on the way shortly. I believe 200 million will be refunded this year and another 240 million next year," saidRep. Richard Morgan.

On the roads, "Lose Control, Lose Your License" will make it harder for school troublemakers to keep their licenses.

Cameras in select towns will keep an eye on people who have trouble keeping themselves fromrunning red lights.

Two environmental issues are still on the floor. TheClean Air Actwould require switching to a more expensive gasoline. The Clean Water Act would extend the state'shog farm moratorium.

Finally, lawmakers still have to solve theUNC construction bondissue. The Senate and House are $2 billion apart and are fighting over whether the voters should decide how much to spend.

"I'm still very optimistic that over the weekend we'll continue to have conversation, and by the first of next week, we'll have a better idea as to whether or not we will be able to put forth something that both houses can agree on," saidSen. Howard Lee.

Also notable are some of the things the legislature did not do.

Many people were hoping the legislature would pass some kind of legislation on astate lotteryand gun registrations, but that never happened.


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