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The Latest: Updated amendment would ease legislative control

August 23, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the North Carolina legislature calling a special session to address constitutional amendments (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

North Carolina Republican legislative leaders are seeking to scale back the breadth of a proposed constitutional amendment that critics say would dramatically shift the balance of power from the governor to the General Assembly when it comes to boards and commissions.

A key House Republican released bills late Thursday that rewrite two amendments proposals. They’re expected to be debated when a special session begins Friday.

One proposal would delete from a previous amendment some language designed to make clear the legislature controls the appointments and duties of any board or commission it creates. Instead, the proposal only keeps the question of whether the legislature should make appointment decisions for the state elections board, not the governor.

The second proposal largely leaves in place from the original amendment legislation a plan to give the legislature more power by helping name people who could fill judicial vacancies.

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2:20 p.m.

Republicans at the North Carolina General Assembly have decided it’s worth returning to Raleigh to approve new proposed constitutional amendments that comply with a court order this week that struck down two ballot questions as misleading.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger laid out a schedule Thursday whereby a special session would be called to begin Friday. The House would vote Friday on new amendments, followed by the Senate on Monday.

The session can’t be held unless there are a certain number of signatures from legislators seeking one. The number of GOP lawmakers in each chamber exceeds the mandated thresholds if they sign up.

A judicial panel on Tuesday blocked amendment questions addressing judicial vacancies and boards and commissions from going on the November ballot. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and interest groups had sued to stop the referendums.

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