State senators gave tentative approval today to two bills that would make it harder for cities to annex land outside their previous limits.
Jessica Jones: Today's bills are a response to litigation over a measure passed last year that gave property owners the power to stop annexation if 60 percent of them submitted petitions against it. Nine cities were already in the annexation process. Republican Senator Buck Newton of Rocky Mount is a sponsor of the bill.
Buck Newton: The cities refuse to accept our judgment, and as is their right, chose to litigate. And in the course of doing that, they carried their case to court, and a trial court judge has now ruled that our reform is unconstitutional.
So today, lawmakers decided to forbid those cities, which include Kinston, Rocky Mount, and Wilmington, from moving forward with the process for twelve years. Senators then tentatively approved another annexation bill that requires cities to hold a referendum on the process.