RALEIGH -- In North Carolina's part-time General Assembly, lawmakers with outside employment are often involved in crafting bills that affect their respective industries.

While that expertise can improve legislation, it also can raise questions about potential conflicts of interest whenever a bill ends up financially benefiting legislators or their businesses. But North Carolina rules state lawmakers can take action on legislation if their own potential benefit is no greater than what others in their field would receive. 

The Center for Public Integrity and The Associated Press found at least 76 percent of state lawmakers nationwide reported outside income or employment in 2015. While that may bring expertise to certain policy areas, many of those income sources are directly affected by the actions of the legislatures.