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Judicial changes moving fast through legislature

A partial judicial redistricting bill passed the full Senate yesterday about two hours after it was given a favorable committee report.

House Bill 717 started as a statewide judicial redistricting measure but has recently gone through a number of changes and now reduces judicial divisions from eight to five and specifies that all judicial races will not be referred to by an incumbent’s name.

The House is expected to vote on the bill today at 11 a.m.

Senate Bill 757, which redistricts Wake and Mecklenburg judicial districts, has already been sent to the Governor’s Office.

That measure significantly changes the way district court judges are elected in those counties — they will have to run in sub-districts as opposed to county-wide. That means voters also will not be able to vote for every judge they might come before in court.

Another separate redistricting effort, HB 1037, is waiting to be heard in a Senate committee.

The smaller-scale judicial redistricting efforts unfolded in the past couple weeks. Democrats have opposed the measures for several reasons, but a main one being how fast changes moved through the legislature.

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