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Lawmakers okay new congressional map, propose new primary date, reject non-partisan redistricting (video)

Legislative leaders hope to wrap-up a rare special session Friday by approving a new congressional district map and a plan that would move the election date for those races to June 7th, rather than the March 15th primary.

(**The proposed June primary date would only apply to the congressional seats. The Governor’s race, the U.S. Senate seat, and the $2 billion Connect NC bond issue would be decided by North Carolina voters on March 15th.)

The U.S. Supreme Court could still intervene and stay the lower court ruling that required the new congressional districts be drawn.

However if the High Court does not step in, the new congressional districts would look like this:

2016 congressional map

Another twist in the process came Thursday as the House advanced a bill eliminating all runoffs this year. The top vote-getter would win the race, rather than be required to earn 40% of the votes cast to avoid a second primary.

Leaders in the Senate also rejected an appeal by Senator Jeff Jackson that would have allowed lawmakers to end partisan redistricting and move forward with an independent, non-partisan redistricting approach. Click below to hear Jackson’s appeal to his Senate colleagues:

“If you bring an end to partisan redistricting, it will be an act of political courage unlike any this state has seen in a long time,” explained Jackson. ” Independent redistricting is the type of legislation that gets politicians into heaven.”

The Senate reconvenes Friday at 9:30 a.m. The House returns at 11:30 a.m. when they are expected to finalize the changes.

Read more about Thursday’s special session here.  For additional background, read Policy Watch reporter Sharon McCloskey’s piece: U.S. Supreme Court to decide fate of congressional primaries.

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