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Wednesday Wrap: Now what do we do?

Posted January 10, 2018 7:34 p.m. EST
Updated January 11, 2018 8:40 a.m. EST

— Lawmakers returned to Raleigh Wednesday for a special session, but they aren't really sure what they want to do.

The House voted unanimously for a bill that would provide $2.3 million to the Department of Environmental Quality to address the problem of GenX and other unregulated chemicals in North Carolina waterways. But Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger panned the measure and said his chamber is waiting on data to "take meaningful action" on the issue.

GenX is just one issue splitting the House and Senate. The Senate also isn't interested in addressing during the special session school district complaints over caps on class sizes in early elementary grades or a House plan to redraw voting districts for trial court judges. A joint House-Senate committee will meet Thursday, however, to discuss changing the way people become judges.

Neither chamber plans to hold voting sessions for the rest of the week.

Lawmakers also are waiting on federal courts regarding voting maps. One panel of three judges is weighing two sets of maps for legislative districts, and a second panel on Tuesday declared the congressional map lawmakers drew in 2016 to be unconstitutional because of the hyper-partisan basis used for drawing district lines. Republican lawmakers said they hope the U.S. Supreme Court will block the panel's order that lawmakers redraw the congressional map by Jan. 24 – if the high court doesn't, it would actually give lawmakers something to do during the special session.

Correction: The Wrap contains an error. The House approved $2.3 million in GenX funding, not $1.3 million as reported. The summary above has been edited to reflect that.