- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A former lawmaker who helped transform the North Carolina Senate’s power structure has died. Henson P. Barnes was 81.

Carter Funeral Home co-owner Jimmy Blackman said Monday that Barnes died Sunday in Raleigh.

Barnes represented Wayne and Greene counties in the North Carolina Senate from 1976 until 1992, serving as the chamber’s president pro tempore his last four years.

Barnes became one of the state’s most powerful politicians as Democrats began shifting powers previously held by the lieutenant governor to the new position. The leadership position still appoints Senate committees among other roles.

Barnes authored legislation that created North Carolina’s “First in Flight” license plates that honor the Wright Brothers.

He ran for attorney general in 1992.

A memorial will be held Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Goldsboro.

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