- Associated Press - Friday, June 19, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Gov. Pat McCrory will sign into law a bill that allows some North Carolina registered voters to vote in person without the photo identification required starting next year.

McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis on Friday confirmed the decision before the legislation reached the governor’s desk.

Legislators gave final approval Thursday to easing the photo ID mandate passed in 2013. That law says anyone at an early-voting center or Election Day precinct must show a qualifying photo ID for the vote to count.

But the change says voters with a “reasonable impediment” to getting an ID can fill out a form and provide other information to ensure their vote will count. Legislators approved the bill a month before the first trial challenging the ID requirement is scheduled to begin.

McCrory’s office also announced later Friday he had signed 16 more bills into law, including one that narrows the circumstances when government agencies must perform environmental reviews on projects involving state funds or land.

The legislature agreed earlier this month to scale back the use of the State Environmental Policy Act, originally passed in 1971. The law often has applied to wastewater treatment projects, improvements to state buildings and parkland or landfills.

Bill supporters said other environmental controls and regulations are in place to protect the environment, but environmental groups said government projects deserve an extra layer of environmental accountability for taxpayers.

Other bills now law will:

- allow distilleries to sell their products to people who tour their operations, bypassing government-regulated Alcoholic Beverage Control stores. The same bill would prohibit alcohol in powdered form.

- limit the ability of municipal and county governments to set design and appearance rules for single- and two-family homes. The measure was a response to a 2012 court rulings related to zoning powers. The limits don’t apply to historic landmarks or buildings in historic districts.

- expand the crime of assaulting emergency medical providers and firefighters who are performing their official duties to include all hospital personnel and licensed health care providers trying to do their jobs.

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