RALEIGH, WAKE COUNTY -

The state House has taken the unusual step of rejecting a compromise with the Senate to adjust the qualifications necessary to become the lead uniformed officer of the North Carolina National Guard.

The House voted Wednesday against the final result of a conference committee created to work out differences between Senate and House versions of a bill changing the selection criteria for the guard's adjutant general.

Critics of the proposal said it would reduce the number of potential candidates the governor could pick from a few dozen to a handful.

The House defeated the conference committee's proposal by a vote of 40-66. A different compromise bill could still surface before this year's session adjourns.