- Associated Press - Thursday, June 29, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on work performed by the North Carolina legislature as lawmakers attempt to adjourn before this weekend (all times local):

11:30 p.m.

A General Assembly agreement to expand Sunday hunting with firearms privileges in North Carolina will leave in place a prohibition to shoot when most churches meet.

The House and Senate voted Thursday night for a compromise that would build on a 2015 law eliminating the longtime Sunday ban to hunt with a gun on private property.

The bill heading to Gov. Roy Cooper would now allow hunting on managed public lands and lift the prohibition on Sunday hunting in Wake and Mecklenburg counties. Upland game birds also could now be hunted and it opens the doors for migratory birds.

But the prohibition from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. would remain and shooting near places of worship would remain illegal all day.

Counties could still begin this fall to opt out of Sunday hunting, but now it couldn’t be done without a local referendum agreeing to it.


11:15 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is getting a bill that implements an idea he promoted while attorney general - putting cameras on school buses to take photos of vehicles that illegally pass stopped school buses.

The House late Thursday agreed to Senate legislation allowing counties to adopt ordinances to cite motorists by using stop-arm camera images as evidence. The bill’s next stop is Cooper’s desk.

Violations of the ordinance would be punishable by monetary penalties starting at $400 for a first offense. Local education boards can contract with outside vendors to install the cameras, send citations and assess fines.

Cooper and other supporters of the idea have said the cameras will reduce the number of motorists skirting around the buses and increasing the risks for striking children getting on or getting off.


8:50 p.m.

House Republicans won’t move forward before the General Assembly’s impending adjournment on legislation that would begin a formal investigation of Democratic Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday evening there won’t be debate or a vote on a resolution that would direct the creation of a House investigatory committee. That committee could have considered impeachment articles.

Pender County Rep. Chris Millis has accused Marshall of allowing hundreds of people who aren’t legally in the U.S. to become notary publics. Marshall said she’s done nothing wrong and complied with the law and federal policy.

Moore says the resolution will go through the normal legislative process but added an outside attorney has been contacted to perform an investigation and advise Republicans on what to do.


6:30 p.m.

The General Assembly has agreed to force a North Carolina municipality to shift from city-wide council elections to seats chosen by district voters starting in 2019.

Republicans in the legislature gave final approval Thursday to a bill directing Democratic-leaning Asheville to approve maps for six single-member electoral districts before Nov. 1.

Asheville-area GOP members say the legislature is demanding the change because they say southern Asheville hasn’t been well represented on the council by people from that part of town.

They say Asheville leaders have dragged their feet on the switch, but Democratic lawmakers from Asheville say a fall referendum already was scheduled on the district idea.

The redistricting demand reflects GOP efforts to intervene in affairs of Democratic cities in recent years.

Since the bill only applies to Asheville, it’s not subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.


6:10 p.m.

The House has overwhelmingly approved legislation aimed at addressing human trafficking by regulating North Carolina’s massage parlors with some changes.

During the potential last hours of session, members voted 106-4 on Thursday for a bill that would require massage and bodywork therapy establishments to be licensed and increase the punishment for violating human trafficking laws.

Legislators say the businesses are sometimes used as a front for prostitution and illegal sexual activities.

The House also agreed to an amendment that would allow the state Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy to decide whether the establishments have to post human trafficking awareness signs in their businesses. A previous version of the bill would have made the signs a requirement.

Included in the budget is funding for over 21,000 signs to be displayed at adult establishments, hospitals, rest stops and other places.

The bill returns to the Senate for another vote.


4:35 p.m.

Conservatives have failed in their effort to have North Carolina officially join the call for a convention to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution to address limits on the federal government.

The House voted 53-59 on Thursday against a resolution the Senate already had approved. The resolution’s defeat means the idea can’t be considered again until 2019.

Similar resolutions for a “Convention of the States” already have been approved by 12 other states. Twenty-two more are needed before Congress would be obligated to call the meeting.

Republican Rep. Bert Jones of Rockingham County urged colleagues to approve the amendment because he says the federal government is engaged in runaway spending and debt. House Speaker Tim Moore gave a rare floor speech supporting the convention idea.

But opponents say a convention was too rash a step and could open the door to try to attempts to block fundamental rights.


12:55 p.m.

Details on how $100 million already set aside in the new North Carolina budget will get spent for repairs and recovery from Hurricane Matthew have received final approval by the General Assembly.

The Senate on Thursday signed off on what the House passed and sent it to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper for his signature. Those funds are on top of $200 million approved by the legislature last December for Matthew’s massive flooding and mountain wildfires.

The federal government also has sent hundreds of millions of dollars, although Cooper and congressional members say much more is needed.

The measure says the $100 million will be used for low-income housing and public housing repairs, stream debris removal and farm repairs. A small portion also can be used for revitalizing pastures damaged by recent drought.


3:30 a.m.

The North Carolina General Assembly is getting close to completing its annual work session.

Top House and Senate leaders say they’re hopeful they can adjourn the 5½-month session sometime Thursday, or perhaps early Friday. The two chambers worked Wednesday until midnight debating bills and negotiating behind the scenes.

More than two dozen additional bills are now heading to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk, including a measure allowing local governments to let restaurants and retailers serve alcohol on Sunday mornings. Another approved bill allows Guilford County to post legal notices online, instead of in newspapers.

Still unknown is whether measures addressing renewable energy and spending by regional mental health agencies will cross the finish line. And the House could vote on creating a committee to investigate Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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