The General Assembly is one vote away from repealing involuntary annexations in nine areas of the state. Lawmakers thought they had put a stop to involuntary annexations last session. The new law allowed property owners in target areas to block annexations if at least 60 percent of them objected. Cities filed a lawsuit and a judge agreed with the local governments the procedure was unconstitutional. The cities argued the procedure violated the rights of other citizens in the community who didn't have a say because they didn't own property.
The state is appealing the ruling but if the latest legislation is given final approval that could make the lawsuit moot because the new legislation also allows all registered voters in a community to vote on an annexation.
Those opposed to involuntary annexations felt another victory was coming so they rallied at the legislature on the day of the preliminary vote to hear from legislators pushing the new bills.
The nine cities that would have annexations repealed are:
Kinston, Lexington, Rocky Mount, Wilminton, Asheville, Marvin, Southport, Goldsboro and Fayetteville.
The final vote will come next week and the two bills should pass easily since they received an overwhelming majority of votes on tentative approval.