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Residents of Macon County were invited to attend a “town hall” type meeting at the Franklin High School Fine Arts Center with Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, representative of Macon and 16 other Western North Carolina counties in the 11th district, in the United States House of Representatives.

Supporters of Meadows and Bob Penland who serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Congressman greeted attendees.

“We're so thankful to have you here,” he said with a firm handshake while waiting for the event to begin.

According to Meadows, he is one of the only representatives in Congress who is meeting with members of his district at a series of town hall meetings. Meadows said he and his staff have just passed 20,000 responses to emails and letters in the span of seven and a half months. Upon taking the stage, he reiterated his commitment to the 11th district by reinforcing his stance on a representative government.

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A new gun law in North Carolina, which was approved by both the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory as House Bill 937, will now allow guns on school campuses. According to Macon County Schools attorney John Henning Jr., the bill, which is now G.S. 14-269.3, allows individuals with concealed-carry permits to bring their guns onto school campuses – from kindergarten to college – if they keep the weapons in a closed compartment in their locked vehicles.

"It is just crazy," said Henning Monday night. "It is a terrible idea and I don't care how pro-gun you are, it just doesn't make any sense."

School districts cannot make it illegal for individuals to bring guns to school campuses, but can create a policy that forbids such an action.

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The 60-unit housing complex being constructed behind the Westgate Plaze in Franklin recently received a $480,000 grant to help ease construction costs.

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan made the announcement that Southeastern Housing Preservation, Inc. will receive a $480,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) of Atlanta for the Westgate Terrace Apartment community in Franklin, which will be providing 60 rental units for very low- to low-income families earning less than 60 percent of the area median income.

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Governor Pat McCrory issued the first veto under his administration last Thursday, rejecting legislation originally introduced by Sen. Jim Davis (R-50) that called for people applying for welfare benefits be required to pass a drug test.

Senator Davis was the primary sponsor on Senate Bill 594, which was the first piece of legislation to mention drug testing for the welfare program known as WorkFirst. Applicants for the federal assistance program would have had to pass a drug screen before being eligible for benefits. The bill, which passed the Senate in a 35-15 vote, was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration, where the wording was adopted and embedded into House Bill 392.

In addition to drug testing for Work First, House Bill 392 would have required Social Services to verify applicants' criminal history and share that information with law enforcement. The governor signed an executive order to carry out that portion of the bill.

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