WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY … AND WHAT’S NOT

Paul Fogleman,

The regular session of the North Carolina Legislature ended before the July 4 holidays, with a record budget adopted and a long list of regulatory reforms adopted. But six weeks later the lawmakers were back in session. This time it was to address the highly partisan task of redistricting and overriding vetoes from Governor Cooper. The power struggle between the legislators and the governor have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees on both sides. And as efforts continue to strip away more power from the governor, lawyers will become richer.

Recently, the Legislature again convened to adopt new districts for House members and Senators in response to a mandate from federal judges who imposed a September 1 deadline for new election maps to eliminate the gerrymandering of minority voters into compact districts. No tinkering with the districts, the court advised. So the new maps drawn by Republicans with a super majority in both Chambers were adopted. As a result, several senators announced their retirements and will not seek re-election in 21018. At least one House member decided to move to a new community in a new district to avoid competing with an incumbent representative. But in the end, if the new maps are approved by the federal judiciary, there is likely to be few advantages for Democrats in the 2018 elections unless unexpected developments put Republicans on the defensive.

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