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Democrats cross aisle to vote for unemployment overhaul

Four Democrats crossed the aisle Tuesday to vote for the Republican-backed bill overhauling the state's unemployment system.

The bill, which is up for its final vote in the Senate today, passed 36-13 on Tuesday. Joining the Republicans were Democrats: Ben Clark of Cumberland County, Clark Jenkins of Bertie County, Gene McLaurin of Anson County and Michael Walters of Columbus County.

When the bill passed the House last week, it also received support from Democrats — three to be exact: William Brisson of Bladen County, Ken Goodman of Hoke County and Paul Tine of Beaufort County.

Last year, Brisson sided with Republicans on a few otherwise partisan issues, most notably overrides of the Perdue's vetoes of the Racial Justice Act and the legislature's budget.

So far, the unemployment bill has received unanimous support from Republicans.

Basnight's appointees to drilling task force

Senate leader Marc Basnight chose experts on marine policy and oil and coastal officials for a task force on offshore drilling.

The Manteo Democrat named half of the 24 members of a task force that could spend as much as $100,000 and over a year looking into the state's position on drilling off the coast.

Former UNC-Wilmington chancellor James Leutze was his pick for co-chair. Leutze is a member of the Coastal Resources Commission and former member of the Marine Fisheries Commission.

Overall, Basnight's appointees include more scientists and local officials than industry representatives.

Other appointees include professors of nuclear engineering, marine sciences, marine affairs and environmental policy; representatives of natural gas and petroleum interests; a mayor, editor and publisher from coastal towns; and a Chamber of Commerce head from the coast.

After the jump, the names and job titles of Basnight's other 11 appointees.

Related: Hackney's appointees to drilling task force

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