A set of 23 new laws went into effect on Oct. 1 in North Carolina.
Among them was S.B. 20, Care for Women, Children, and Families Act. While a portion of the law that reduced elective abortions from 20 to 12 weeks and gave paid parental leave to all state employees became effective on July 1, the section dealing with the safe surrender of infants went into effect on Oct. 1.
The law was designed to protect newborn infants by providing a safe alternative for a parent who, in a crisis or in desperation, may physically abandon or harm his or her newborn and to provide information for the parent regarding the parent’s rights and alternatives. One of the requirements is that the infant must not be more than 30 days old. In addition, the infant may be surrendered to the following: A health care provider who is on duty or at a hospital, a local or district health department or at a nonprofit community health center, a first responder, including a law enforcement officer, a certified emergency medical services worker, or a firefighter, or a social services worker who is on duty or at a local department of social services.
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the legislation on May 14, primarily for the change to the abortion law. That was overridden on May 16.
H.B. 116, Modify Laws Affecting District Attorneys deals with dispute resolution fees. The remainder of the law went into effect on July 1.
S.B 240, Permit Choice, Certain Airport Authorities, provides the choice of erosion and sedimentation control permitting authority for airport authorities.
S.B. 329, Retail Installment Sales Act Amendments, modifies the maximum finance charge rates that may be applied to consumer credit installment sale contracts and would increase the default charge for past-due installment payments from $15 to $18, among other changes.
S.B. 331, Consumer Finance Act Amendments, includes various changes, including requiring any person who lends $15,000 or less at interest rates higher than those allowed under North Carolina’s usury laws to be licensed under the Consumer Finance Act. It would increase the amount a person could lend to $25,000 and require the servicers of those loans to be licensed.
S.B. 582, North Carolina Farm Act of 2023, defines a qualifying farmer for certain exemptions as a person who has an annual income from farming operations for the preceding taxable year of $10,000 or more or who has an average annual income from farming operations for the three preceding taxable years of $10,000 or more.
Some items exempt from sales and use tax under this section include fuel, commercial fertilizer, potting soil, compost, and seeds.
The law also amends the Veterinary Medical Board inspection process and gives the board the responsibility to perform inspections of boarding kennels operated by veterinarians.
H.B. 813, The Pretrial Integrity Act takes away the responsibility of magistrates to set bail for some violent offenses. Instead, judges will determine whether a person charged with specific violent crimes will be released from jail before going to trial.
H.B. 815, The Loving Homes Act, would abolish the “arbitrary” five-child cap for foster homes and allow decision-makers to consider additional factors.
Under the former law, foster care homes are not allowed to have more than five children in the household for any reason, even if most are not foster children.
“We have children sleeping out of state in other homes and facilities, sleeping in emergency departments, and sleeping on couches in DHHS offices,” Rep. Allen Chesser, R-Nash, said on June 29, the day the measure passed in the legislature. “I find this unacceptable, especially while the State Administrative Code arbitrarily denies families the ability to host foster children strictly because of the number of children.”
Other bills that became law include: H.B. 190, Department of Health and Human Services Revisions, H.B. 790, Innocence Inquiry Commission Provision, H.B. 344, Mental Health License Fair Practice Standards, S.B. 45, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors Supervision Requirements, S.B. 507, Chiropractic Preceptorship Modifications, S.B. 171, Department of Public Safety Agency Bill, S.B. 722, Child Care Flexibilities, H.B. 484, Mental Health Confidential Information Disclosure, H.B. 193, AOC Court Changes/Amend Expunction, H.B. 488, Code Council Reorganization and Various Code Amendments, S.B. 429, Modify Charitable Solicitation Licensing Laws, S.B. 492, Adult Correction/Law Enforcement Changes, H.B. 125, NC Health & Human Services Workforce Act, S.B. 477, Amend Business Corporation Act/Business Opportunity Disclosures and S.B. 452. DOI & Ins. Law Amd/Revise High School Athletics.
Cooper allowed S.B. 452 to become law without his signature.