Under the Dome

NC legislature votes to take a summer vacation

The N.C. House voted 68-33 Thursday to take a summer vacation next week despite objections from Democrats who said legislators should stay in town to work on a budget deal.

The House vote followed a 43-5 vote in the Senate Wednesday to adjourn the legislative session until 7 p.m. on July 13. House Speaker Tim Moore urged legislators to recharge, spend time with family and return “ready for some very busy, hard-charging weeks ahead of us.”

But 28 House Democrats, five House Republicans, four Senate Democrats and one Senate Republican voted no. House Democratic Leader Larry Hall said adjournment shouldn’t happen until the legislature approves a final budget bill; a temporary bill to keep state government running for the next 45 days was approved this week.

“Our primary duty when we came down here was the budget,” Hall said. “As far as I know, we don’t even have conferees appointed for the budget process so that can happen.”

But Moore said budget work will progress during the break. “Just because we’re not in this room or having sessions does not mean that folks working on the budget negotiations are not working,” he said, indicating that informal talks between House and Senate writers could occur before the appointment of the conference committee that will hash out a deal.

And Rep. Charles Jeter, a Mecklenburg County Republican, said legislators who live hours away from Raleigh will use the time to meet with people in their districts.

“I’m going to spend the next five days in my district making sure my constituents feel like we’re doing the right thing,” Jeter said. “Make no mistake, work is being done.”

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