State Government
Cooper Signs Executive Order In Response To Colonial Pipeline Shutdown PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Donna Martinez   
Thursday, 13 May 2021 09:16
Governor Roy Cooper today signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in North Carolina and temporarily suspending motor vehicle fuel regulations to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state. On May 7, 2021, the Colonial Pipeline system reported a ransomware cyber-attack, resulting in a temporary shutdown of that line. The Colonial Pipeline is a primary fuel pipeline for North Carolina. 
 
“Today’s emergency declaration will help North Carolina prepare for any potential motor vehicle fuel supply interruptions across the state and ensure motorists are able to have access to fuel,” said Governor Cooper.
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Senate Passes Bill Targeting Drug Addiction Patient Brokering PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 13 May 2021 09:13
The North Carolina Senate today passed the Stop Addiction Fraud Emergency (SAFE) Act, sponsored by Sens. Jim Burgin (R-Harnett), Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth), and Jim Perry (R-Lenoir). 
 
The measure targets "patient brokers," who refer people addicted to drugs to rehabilitation facilities in exchange for fees, or kickbacks. Brokers target drug abusers and lead them to rehab clinics, many of which are out of state, that pay the brokers for the referral. 
 
In some cases, brokers track drug abusers and reintroduce them to their addiction so they can earn referral fees again and again for the same patient. 
 
The SAFE Act would make it unlawful for any rehabilitation facility to pay referral fees or for any third party to solicit referral fees.
 
Sen. Burgin said, "There are awful stories from around the country of patient brokers targeting vulnerable people with addictions and cycling them through rehabilitation facilities, all for a cash kickback. That practice is already illegal in many states, and it should be illegal in North Carolina, too." 
 
Sen. Krawiec said, "People who struggle with addiction, and their families, are already going through so much. They don't need unscrupulous patient brokers misleading them in search of a kickback." 
 
Sen. Perry said, "Patient brokers prey upon the most vulnerable and they must be stopped. This bill allows local prosecutors to take action against patient brokers, just like authorities in other states and at the federal level can." 
 
The U.S. Congress passed legislation in 2018 to make patient brokering a federal crime. The SAFE Act would similarly make patient brokering illegal in North Carolina, which would allow the practice to be prosecuted locally.
 
Senate Passes Sweeping Criminal Justice Reform Bill PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 13 May 2021 09:07
The North Carolina State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 300, a wide-ranging criminal justice reform bill. The bill includes a provision negotiated by bill sponsor Sen. Danny Earl Britt, Jr. (R-Robeson) and the Legislative Black Caucus to allow a family to view unredacted body camera footage within five business days after a serious police incident that results in death or serious injury. 
 
“This clarification delivers on our promise to review the current laws related to body-worn camera footage at the appropriate time," Sen. Britt said. “I want to thank the Legislative Black Caucus for working with me to find a suitable change to make sure families have the chance to view the footage as soon as possible.” 
 
The amendment permits a law enforcement agency to petition a court if it believes the footage should be redacted in some way (e.g., if the video captures a confidential informant). 
 
"Over the past decade Republicans in the General Assembly have been dedicated to evaluating the criminal justice system and implementing reforms that have broad support,” Sen. Britt said. “We’ve corrected decades of overcriminalization. Senate Bill 300 continues that trajectory and responds directly to concerns about police conduct. Our work isn’t complete, but we’ll continue to come together to address these critical issues.” 
 
Senate Bill 300 includes several bipartisan reforms, including new mental health and wellness strategies training, psychological screenings, and an “early warning” system to track and document the use of force.
 
Over the past several years, the Republican-led legislature has enacted historic criminal justice reforms, including Raise the Age, the Second Chance Act, and the First Step Act, which overturned the mandatory minimum sentences imposed by then-Sen. Roy Cooper.
 
Senate Bill 300 also includes provisions to: 

Create a public database of law enforcement officer certification suspensions and revocations.

 

Require all law enforcement officer fingerprints to be entered in state and federal databases.
 
Authorize law enforcement agencies to participate in the FBI’s criminal background check systems.
 
Create a database for law enforcement agencies of "critical incident information" which includes death or serious bodily injury.
 
Require that written notification of Giglio material (credibility issues that would make an officer open to impeachment by the defense in a criminal trial) be
reported.
 
Allow health care providers to transport the respondent in an involuntary commitment
 
Provide in-person instruction by mental health professionals and develop policies to encourage officers to utilize available mental health resources.
 
Create an early warning system within each law enforcement agency to monitor officer actions and behaviors that might indicate a problem such as collisions, complaints, and critical incidents.
 
Require the creation of a best practices recruitment guide to encourage diversity.
 
Expand mandatory in-service training for officers to include mental health topics, community policing, minority sensitivity, use of force, and the duty to intervene and report.
 
Create a duty for officers to intervene and report excessive use of force by another officer.
 
Increase penalties for those who resist or obstruct an arrest and while doing so injure a law enforcement officer.
 
Senate Bill 300 increases the penalty for rioting for those who cause more than $1,500 in property damage, or those who cause serious bodily injury to another person, or anyone who brandishes a dangerous weapon or uses a dangerous weapon. That provision directly responds to seeing peaceful protests being taken over by rioters that destroyed business districts across the nation and in downtown Raleigh. 
 
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. 
 
Senate Passes Bill That Raises Marriage Age To 16 PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 12 May 2021 16:25

The Senate passed a bipartisan bill on Wednesday that raises the age to marry to 16 in North Carolina and limits the age difference among the parties to 4 years.

Senator Nickel said, “This bill will help keep our kids safe and modernize our antiquated marriage laws. Senate Bill 35 will end North Carolina’s place as a destination for child marriage and a sanctuary state for statutory rape.”

14 and 15-year-old children will no longer be able to be married in North Carolina under this bill. Alaska is the only other state to currently allow 14 and 15-year olds to get married.

Senator Nickel said, “I applaud my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to reach a compromise on this issue. A 49-year-old man will no longer be able to get married to a 17 year old child, within our borders, when this bill becomes law.”

The compromise reached at the last minute will still allow 16 and 17-year-olds to get married - but only to those who are less than four years older. This puts North Carolina in line with a bigger majority of states.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 May 2021 08:54
 
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