On Dec. 1, Medicaid expansion began in North Carolina nearly 14 years after it became law as part of 2010’s Affordable Care Act. But it wasn’t the only new law that started last week. Dozens of new laws crafted during this session landed on Dec. 1.
And while this long-delayed but essential piece of legislation brought healthcare to about 600,000 North Carolinians, the other ones do little to make people healthier or safer — some even make us less safe.
First up is SB 41, a gun law that abolishes the need for pistol permits in NC, meaning that background checks for handguns in the Old North State are no longer carried out by county sheriffs but by gun shops. The law also allows some with concealed-carry permits to bring their guns to some schools.
SB 20 is a 47-page abortion bill outlawing abortion after 12 weeks, which is right around the time an ectopic pregnancy might be discovered, jeopardizing the health of the mother. That part kicked in on June 1. But on Dec. 1 other provisions kick in, including one that allows a parent to surrender an infant up to 30 days after birth without legal repercussion, one that makes assaulting a pregnant woman a Class A1 misdemeanor, and one that brings domestic violence up to a Class A1 misdemeanor.
Starting Dec. 1, according to SB 747, impersonating an election official or attempting to track an absentee ballot becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor.
SB 49, the Parents Bill of Rights, articulates that as of Dec. 1, a healthcare provider treating a minor without parental consent can be decertified and fined up to $5,000.
And as of Dec. 1, the entirety of SB 364 matures, meaning that certain concepts are now forbidden for discussion or training among state employees. Those concepts include the notion that one sex or race is superior to another, that individuals are responsible for past actions by people of their same race or sex, that all Americans are in fact not created equally on the basis of treatment under the law and/or pay scale and other relevant critiques of US history and culture. Basically it means “Don’t talk about race at work.”
All of these bills were vetoed by the governor before being overturned by the General Assembly. And there are more than a dozen other laws that kicked in last week, like HB 34, which makes it a felony to aim a laser pointer at a cop, and SB 246, which allows for a trespassing charge to be filed against someone standing outside a building.
Feel safer yet?
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this editorial mischaracterized SB 41, which removes pistol permit requirements and shifts the background check from local sheriffs to the gun shops themselves. The correction has been made; TCB regrets the error.
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