General Assembly Wraps Up Annual Session

Landfills, water wars and amorous pets left lawmakers both busy and weary as the General Assembly wrapped up its work for the year late tonight.

Legislators survived more than a week of marathon meetings that finally ended when first-term House Speaker Joe Hackney rapped the gavel on the year's regular session at 10:36 p.m.

Senate leader Marc Basnight congratulated senators on a successful session shortly before that chamber adjourned at 10:15 p.m.

The General Assembly won't reconvene until May unless a special session is called. And that option has been discussed recently to address transportation funding.

The Legislature's primary job was finished Monday, as lawmakers approved a $20.7 billion state budget that significantly helps county governments by providing new tax options and Medicaid relief this year.

In the waning hours of the regular session, lawmakers acted on bills involving solid waste regulation, renewable fuel, campaign financing, government ethics and speeders.

The House cleared one of its biggest unresolved issues by early evening, voting to upgrade permit, construction and siting requirements for landfills. Lawmakers hope to mitigate water wars between towns by tightening regulations on how communities across North Carolina can draw water from neighboring river basins.

And legislators passed a measure to fund spay-neuter programs with a 20-cent fee on rabies tags.