RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - State legislators have one week to get new General Assembly districts approved and sent to federal judges for review, so they're holding unusual Friday sessions to work before the Sept. 1 deadline.
The full Senate planned to hold Friday the first of two required votes on the boundaries for the chamber's seats, which already cleared the Senate's redistricting committee. The House redistricting panel also is meeting to debate and vote on the House remapping proposal.
Republicans in charge of the General Assembly directed the retooling of House and Senate maps after judges declared nearly 30 districts illegal racial gerrymanders. Election data show the proposals should help the GOP keep control of both chambers. Democrats say the proposals don't adequately address the racial makeup of the districts.
North Carolina Senate Republicans are advancing their proposed remap of the chamber's districts even though Democrats argue the boundaries don't adequately address questions of race that federal judges are bound to ask.
The Senate redistricting committee approved along party lines Thursday evening the GOP's rewrite of districts. The first of two required floor votes is expected Friday. The committee did make minor changes to districts in and around Raleigh and Fayetteville.
Other amendments that Democrats proposed for the Charlotte and Greensboro areas were rejected. Democrats said their proposals would have eliminated racial gerrymanders they say remain from the 2011 map that a federal court struck down as unlawful. But Republicans stuck to their premise that racial data were not used in redrawing.
The House also must approve new district boundaries.
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