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Hunt Signs Bill

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RALEIGH (AP) — Gov. Jim Hunt used 10 pensThursday to sign thefirst bill that required the governor's signature to become law inmore than 200 years.

``This is not a one-pen signing,'' Hunt said as he worked hisway through the line of $25 silver-and-gold Cross pens. He usedthree of them to sign his name and the others to fill in the dateand time. The 10th pen made the last downward slash on the 7 in1997.

Hunt, and no other governor for the last 200 years, has had anypractice signing legislation.

The last bill that required a governor's signature to becomelawwas signed on March 24, 1774. That bill, signed by colonial Gov.Josiah Martin, outlawed hunting at night by firelight.

Martin disbanded the Legislature, but lawmakers formed aprovisional congress that passed laws during the AmericanRevolution and ignored the governor.

The first state constitution, and its several rewrites since,did not give the governor veto power.

Voters changed that last November when they approved vetopower.North Carolina was the last state to extend that power to itsgovernor.

``People gave a resounding yes to this,'' Hunt said as heprepared to sign the bill setting out the process for vetoinglegislation. ``I think what they said was they wanted to us workingtogether.

``This is no panacea, but I can already see it's having aneffect,'' he said.

``Well, sir, did you ever think you'd see this day?'' Hunt saidto former Gov. Terry Sanford, who joined him for the signing.

Hunt gave a pen to Sanford; state Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland,who sponsored the bill Hunt signed; Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker; Rep.Toby Fitch, D-Wilson; and Franklin Freeman, Hunt's chief of staff.

He said he also would send a pen to former Republican Gov. JimMartin, who campaigned for veto power during his two terms and leda campaign by former governors for the measure last fall.

Asked what he would do with the other pens, Hunt responded,``One will go to the archives. I might try to have one for myself.The others, we'll see about.''

By DENNIS PATTERSON,Associated Press WriterCopyright ©1997 AssociatedPress. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,rewritten, or distributed.

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