North Carolina legislative history to stay secret





Outgoing Speaker Jim Black said late Wednesday that he will keep secret all work so far on a history of the House that he ordered written.

Taxpayers have spent about $75,000 during the past two years on the research and other work for what was supposed to be an extensive account of the state House, as well as a separate study of its speakers since 1963.

The work was to be completed Dec. 31. His office had released nothing from or about the history since the new year began.

Black, leader of the House since 1999, said in a prepared statement Wednesday night that he would release nothing, relying on a staff opinion that such records are not public under state law.

The work was the responsibility of Ann Lassiter, 61, a career state employee with no training in history whom Black put in the new job of House historian in May 2005. Her salary was about $50,000 a year.

Lassiter's job ended Dec. 31 amid turmoil.

Disclosures in The News & Observer showed she had headed the House page program and allowed some pages to stay at the home of her son, a felon with a history of drug and alcohol troubles.

Black let her resign, then created the historian's position for her.


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