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North Carolina legislature gavels in annual work session

May 18, 2022 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina General Assembly returned on Wednesday to Raleigh for its traditional budget-adjustment work session, but lawmakers aren’t getting out of the blocks quickly.

The House and Senate gaveled in and out sparsely attended floor sessions at midday Wednesday. Republican leaders in both chambers say committee meetings and recorded votes won’t occur until next week.

The delay is not surprising given that dozens of incumbents have been back home competing in Tuesday’s primaries. Lawmakers began introducing bills Wednesday.

The chief job for lawmakers is to approve changes to the second year of the already-enacted two-year budget. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper made recommendations last week.

House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters Wednesday that he expected the session to last five or six weeks. That’s in line with Senate leader Phil Berger’s recent comments that he and Moore were aiming to adjourn the session around July 1, which is when the new fiscal year begins.

Other legislation pending from 2021 likely to be debated now include bills that would make lawful medical marijuana and sports wagering. Moore said he didn’t expect marijuana legislation, which has yet to clear the Senate, to be considered in the House until 2023.