North Carolina Legislative Wrap

NORTH CAROLINA -- The North Carolina General Assembly wrapped up its session on Thursday night.

A bill ratified and signed by the governor allows motorcyclists to run red lights if they have been waiting at a light for over three minutes and if there are no people or other cars at the intersection.

The reason for the bill was because underground censors that trigger the traffic lights don't respond to motorcycles due to their weight and exotic materials. That law goes into effect December 1.

Thanks to a bill ratified and signed by Governor Easley, school bus drivers will no longer be allowed to talk on their cell phones or use a hands-free device while driving children. That law goes into effect on December 1 as well.

Pet supporters in North Carolina cheered as a bill was passed and ratified to fund spay-neuter programs with a 20 cent fee taken from sales of rabies vaccination tags. The money will help more dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered statewide.

Lastly, a bill has been ratified, that is still causing debate. That bill is the Solid Waste Management Act. The bill says that landfills can not be near state game lands.

The bill will most likely make it impossible for the proposed Riegel Ridge Landfill to be built in Columbus County. If built, the landfill would be close to the Juniper Creek Conservation Preserve.

Senator Julia Boseman says she is pleased with the progress made.

"All and all, I am pleased with this year's budget. We gave teachers a raise of 5%, we have a new lab at UNCW which is $34 million, $7.5 million going to the ports. We are spending millions of dollars for public access to our waterways and beaches," said Senator Julia Boseman.

Thursday night's general assembly session ended at 10:35 p.m.

Lawmakers won't reconvene until May of next year unless a special session is called.

Reported by Max Winitz