A new year ushers in new laws in North Carolina. Here are some of the laws that took effect on Jan. 1.
Senate Bill 473, Enhance Local Government Transparency, bans public officials from gaining financially from their position. They can be charged with a felony if they do so. The law also prohibits public officials who serve on nonprofit boards from voting to award contracts to those organizations.
“Surprisingly, there was very little on the books in terms of laws prohibiting local government officials from abusing their power while in office before this piece of legislation,” said Jordan Roberts, director of government affairs for the John Locke Foundation. “Now enacted, this law clears up ambiguities in current statutes and makes clear that no matter the level of government, someone can’t profit off of their seat.”
Multiple provisions in the state budget, Senate Bill 105, took effect Jan. 1. They include: bonuses of up to $1,000 for teachers and principals who qualify by taking certain additional training; the end of taxation of military pensions; an increase in the per-child income tax deduction; and implementation of new requirements for assisted living and nursing homes in management of infectious disease outbreaks.
Senate Bill 693, Expedite Child Safety and Permanency, amends various abuse, neglect, and dependency laws to ensure the safety of children in out-of-home placements and expedite permanency planning hearings for children who have been removed from their homes. It also discusses child welfare reform, establishes safeguards to help protect against human traffickers, implements a statewide child protective services hotline, and provides safe placement for children in need of mental health services.
House Bill 734 protects citizens from unlicensed mental health facilities. House Bill 489 updates building codes and development regulatory reforms, including the requirements to be licensed as a general contractor in the state.
House Bill 366 provides regulatory relief to N.C. citizens with such things as allowing distilleries to sell spiritous liquor directly to consumers in other states and allowing for remote building code inspections.
Editor’s Note: Theresa Opeka is a contributor for the Carolina Journal.
District votes to close Asheville Primary School
The district says that the decision came down to a 3 to 2 vote, as the school will shut its doors beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. This comes after the board voted 4-2 to accept the study done on the school. The pre-school classes will be relocated as well.
Asheville Primary is the first, public Montessori School in Western North Carolina.
Parents, such as Courtney Sullivan, are devastated and confused.
“They made us a promise in May. And they made us a promise again in November. And they made us a promise again last week that we were staying open as a school that they were expanding to fifth grade,” Sullivan said, “So, I would just really want to know what changed.”
Sullivan a had conversation with her second-grader to break the news.
“She was really, really sad,” Sullivan said, “She does not want to leave her school community. She doesn’t want to leave her teachers. She doesn’t want to leave her friends.”
Several parents and students stood before the board to make their pleas to save the school, but Liza English-Kelly feels it was too late.
“I was shocked and, also, not shocked,” Kelly said, “It felt like the decision had already been made.”
And now, parents like Sean Dunn, will have to uproot their children to new schools. Dunn has a kindergartener. He says he doesn’t understand the board’s decision.
“I understand what they’re voting against. They’re voting against this school being in this building, but I don’t understand what they’re voting for,” said Dunn.