Flurry of bills ends shortest legislative 'long session' since 1973

Staff writerJune 18, 2011 

After taking up roughly 10 bills Saturday, the state House adjourned at about 12:15 p.m., ceasing all legislative activity until lawmakers return in a month to take up redistricting.

Legislative leaders boasted in news releases that the 87 days taking up bills was the shortest long session since 1973. Lawmakers hold a long session every other year.

"We did what we said we would do, and we did it more openly and efficiently than any legislature in decades,” said Senate leader Phil Berger, a Rockingham County Republican. The Senate had adjourned early Saturday morning after a late Friday night session.

It was the first session since the end of the 19th century that Republicans controlled both chambers.

House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Mecklenburg County Republican, closed the session by calling legislative police to the front of the chamber and thanking them for keeping order. At least three times, they were called upon to respond to outbursts by visitors to the chamber.

The adjournment resolution gives lawmakers some latitude to pass legislation other than redistricting. Conference reports, which are bills in negotiation between the House and Senate, are still in play.

Gov. Bev Perdue now has until the end of the month to consider vetoing any other bills passed on Saturday. She noted the closing of the session by vetoing, as expected, legislation that ended the N.C. Association of Educators' ability to have a payroll deduction of dues from the paychecks of teachers and other school personnel.

“This bill is nothing but a petty and vindictive attempt to seek retribution against a group that opposed the Republican budget," Perdue said in a statement.

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