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NC House leader: Legislators may return next week

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

North Carolina lawmakers are looking to return to Raleigh next week to take up some pending legislation, but House and Senate Republicans have agreed on nothing to consider so far, a key House leader said Wednesday.

Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, said all House members should be prepared to return Aug. 14, but had little additional information. Stam made the comments while presiding over a skeleton floor meeting of the chamber to keep this year's work session going in keeping with the state constitution. A half dozen House members attended.

The House and Senate left town last week after passing a budget-adjustment bill - usually a sign that the annual session officially would soon end. But the two chambers failed to agree on a work schedule for the rest of the year, so the session continues.

House Republicans wants to finalize several pieces of legislation with the Senate next week, including a procedure to clean up coal ash at Duke Energy sites statewide.

Any votes next week would "only be on things that there's an agreement" to vote on, said Stam, the second-ranking leader in the chamber. "Nothing yet, but there is discussion about it."

But Senate Republicans would prefer to stay away until mid-November. That's when the Senate and House had tentatively agreed to work out differences on Medicaid overhaul legislation.

"With Gov. McCrory's decision to sign the budget, the Senate has concluded its business until the previously agreed to session on Medicaid reform in November," said Amy Auth, a spokesman for Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, in a release. Another senator said Tuesday, however, predicted coal ash cleanup legislation could be discussed next week.

Gov. Pat McCrory also could bring legislators back to work if he vetoed a bill on his desk. McCrory scheduled a bill-signing ceremony Thursday, but his office late Wednesday didn't disclose what measure it would be.

The Senate next holds a no-vote session Thursday morning, followed by the House Sunday afternoon.

Leaders of the Democrats, in the minority in the House and Senate, said Wednesday their colleagues are confused about what will happen next.

"I don't know what to tell them," said Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, D-Wake. "Somebody needs to talk to us."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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