Several new state laws go into effect today in North Carolina.
In addition to new regulations addressing scrap metal sales, which is covered in another story in this issue, the new laws stipulate that:
• motorists must now attempt to move over a lane on the roads so that workers in highway maintenance vehicles and utility vehicles who are working beside the road can operate safely. Previously the law only required motorists to move over for public safety vehicles, such as police cars or ambulances. The new law was enacted under House Bill 345;
• street gangs and the property on which they operate can now be declared public nuisances under a new law House Bill 673, approved this year;
• names and addresses of minors involved in school bus crashes can now only be disclosed to the public in certain circumstances under Senate Bill 227;
• selling, surrendering or purchasing a minor is designated a crime under Senate Bill 910. The law also requires the North Carolina Conference Of District Attorneys to study what other measures may be needed to stop this type of crime;
• the N.C. Department Of Public Safety continue to assist offenders trying to successfully re-enter society and gives local crime labs and certain forensic scientists more time to obtain accreditation and certification under Senate Bill 141. It also creates a new first-degree trespass offense;
• probation violators who abscond or try to avoid arrest can no longer be eligible for public assistance until they surrender to the courts under House Bill 1173;
Under another new law taking effect today under House Bill 843, the N.C. General Assembly modernized its emergency management laws, laying out the responsibilities of the governor and local authorities in the event of an emergency or disaster. The law also includes prohibitions against price-gouging and details what steps officials are permitted to take in the case of an emergency.