LEWIS AND HISE GET SPANKED BY 3-JUDGE PANEL OVER PRIVILEGE: This state-level lawsuit targets legislative districts, accusing Republican leaders of drawing maps so unfairly stacked against Democrats that they violate the state constitution. As part of the suit, 10 current or former legislators and two staffers claimed legislative privilege, allowing them to opt out of answering questions. But as a deadline approached, two of those legislators – Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, and Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, who chaired key redistricting committees – reversed themselves, seeking to testify. The late change caused problems for Common Cause's suit, the group said, because various reports were due within days and the group's attorneys had not deposed Lewis or Hise. Judges Paul Ridgeway, Joseph Crosswhite and Alma Hinton agreed with Common Cause that letting Lewis and Hise waive privilege this late in the process "would provide an unfair benefit." As a result, all 12 people who claimed privilege in the case will get it, and some testimony from Lewis and Hise may be blocked during the coming trial.