State Politics


In other developments Thursday:

* Two lobbyists for the electrical cooperative ElectriCities and a former lottery commissioner visited a federal grand jury investigating the work of Meredith Norris, a Raleigh lobbyist who was also the political director to House Speaker Jim Black until last month.

One of the ElectriCities lobbyists did not testify. The other, former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer, said he appeared for about an hour, but he declined to discuss his testimony.

Former lottery commissioner Gordon Myers spent more than four hours in the federal building in Raleigh. He declined to discuss his testimony. Myers stepped down from the commission Monday, citing a potential conflict of interest.

Myers is also a director of the N.C. Economic Development Group and chairman of AdvantageWest, one of seven regional economic development partnerships the group assists. The group has contracted with Norris since 2003 to lobby lawmakers.

* Commission Chairman Charles Sanders cast doubt on the lottery's ability to bring in $400 million for education in its first year.

He said the forecasts have been optimistic. New lottery director Tom Shaheen concurred.

* Lottery commissioners took no action Thursday on a request from Senate leader Marc Basnight, a Manteo Democrat, who wanted a ban on lottery ticket sales where video poker is offered. Commissioners decided they couldn't legally do that but said retailing policies might come close to achieving that. They said lawmakers would have to pass an outright ban.