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Final House vote on abortion bill ends in rancor

The House gave its final blessing Thursday to the bill prohibiting insurance coverage for abortions in the state health exchange and local government plans – with a fair amount of rancor over the divisive issue.

The final vote was 73-39, with Rep. William Brisson, a Democrat representing Johnston, Sampson and Bladen counties, breaking ranks with his party again.

House Democrats counter flurry of gun bills with ambitious if ill-fated legislation

Repealing the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law, requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance, conducting universal background checks for all private firearm transfers, limiting the size of ammunition magazines.

Those are some of the provisions in a bill filed Wednesday by four House Democrats in a comprehensive gun-control bill that, they acknowledge, has no chance of passing. But, co-sponsor Rep. Paul Luebke of Durham said, it carries a message.

“We worked hard to put together a bill that covers about every issue we feel ought to be involved to have a safer North Carolina,” Luebke said Wednesday afternoon.

House Democrats concerned about fast-tracked legislation on first day

It's the first day of the legislative session and House Democrats already are raising concerns about how quickly Republicans are planning to move a controversial measure to curtail unemployment benefits as the state's jobless rate hangs at 9.2 percent.

Republicans plan to hear the legislation -- House Bill 4 -- Thursday morning, on the second day of the legislative session, with floor debate expected early next week. State Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat, asked to push the committee meeting to next week to give lawmakers more time to consider the bill, which was filed Wednesday. "Would you consider giving us members time to read the bill, ... so we actually have time to read the bill and make comments," Luebke asked.

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