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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A North Carolina government reorganization bill that also dismisses current members of several prominent state commissions so that Gov. Pat McCrory can make his own picks has received tentative approval in the state Senate.

The Republican-written bill was approved along party lines Wednesday despite concerns from members of both parties about a provision that eliminates Special Superior Court judgeships by the end of June. The 12 judges hear cases around the state and make $126,000 annually. Governors appoint these judges, who aren't subject to elections.

Senators defeated a Democratic amendment to restore the judgeships.

The bill also would dismiss members of the state Utilities Commission, Industrial Commission and Coastal Resources Commission. The Utilities Commission also would be reduced from seven to five members.

A final Senate vote was expected Thursday.

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