New Year ushers in new laws in North Carolina

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

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Most bills passed by the North Carolina General Assembly go into effect when they are signed into law. But some, at least partially, aren’t enacted until the beginning of the new year.

A total of 18 new laws took effect across the state on January 1, addressing a wide variety of topics.

Some of those laws concern police reform. HB (House Bill) 436 added education and training standards to develop knowledge and increase awareness of effective mental health and wellness strategies for criminal justice officers. That includes two hours of training on this issue every three years.

Similarly, SB (Senate Bill) 300 added more training requirement standards for law enforcement officers on topics including domestic violence investigations, juvenile issues, ethics, mental health, community policing, minority sensitivity, use of force, and the duty to intervene and report.

HB 27 was passed to ensure magistrates receive adequate training, requiring that every magistrate shall annually complete a course of in-service training. That course will cover topics including, but not limited to, setting conditions of pretrial release, impaired driving laws, issuing criminal processes, issuing search warrants, technology, and orders of protection.

Part of HB 890, which made a variety of changes to the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission, took effect on January 1. That section of the law deals with distributing spirituous liquor without discrimination to all local ABC boards, prohibiting ordering advantage through contractors, and requiring records of all products that are limited due to availability.

SB 103 established a North Carolina Behavior Analysis Board which will enforce stricter rules for licensing mental health providers and harsher penalties for violations.

Many other new laws dealt with increasing regulations in several areas as well.

SB 248 required healthcare insurers to provide more information on insurance benefit cards, including copayments and applicable phone numbers or website addresses a customer may need.

For general contractors seeking a license in North Carolina, HB 489 added an option for a criminal background check in addition to the previous requirements.

Portions of the “enhance local government transparency” law (SB 473) went into effect on January 1. That part of the law makes it a Class H felony for an elected officer to solicit or receive personal financial gain by means of intimidation, undue influence, or misuse of employees. Another portion which took effect at the start of this year makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for a public official to knowingly participate in a contract with a nonprofit that the public official is associated with. The public official is allowed to recuse himself from entering into the contract.

Both sections of SB 473 apply to offenses committed on or after January 1, 2022.

Other laws with took effect on January 1, either partially or fully, include HB 160, SB 425, SB 270, HB 734, HB 366, SB 693, HB 403, SB 542, HB 685, and SB 308.