The NC legislative session is over until July 13. Following a meeting and floor-debate filled week, legislators wrapped up their work and returned to their districts on Saturday. They will come back to Raleigh on July 13 to look at redistricting, consider over-rides if the Governor vetoes any bills, adopt conference reports (where representatives from both chambers hash out differences of bills passed by both the House and the Senate, but in slightly different versions) and perhaps take up other matters as well.
Below is a review of some Child Fatality Task Force (CFTF Bills) Of Interest That Passed
Ban sale of K-2 and related substances, including bath salts (S7)
Ban Went Into Effect June 1
Passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor in late March, S7 bans substances that were available legally including a synthetic cannabinoid that produces a marijuana-like high (aka K-2 or Spice) and MDPV, a synthetic that produces both a cocaine-like high and hallucinations (aka bath salts). The ban went into effect June 1 and work has begun to get these dangerous substances off the shelves. CFTF and the Youth Advocacy Involvement office both worked to help inform store owners and others about the upcoming ban. S7: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=s7&submitButton=Go
CFTF press release: http://www.ncleg.net/DocumentSites/Committees/NCCFTF/Reports%20and%20Data/Synthetic%20Drug%20Ban%20Goes%20Into%20Effect%20June%201%202011.pdf
Raise fine for speeding in a school zone (S49)
Increase to $250 Goes Into Effect August 25, 2011
Speeding just an extra 10 mph in a school zone greatly increases the chance of death for a student hit by a car. The chance of pedestrian death increases 9-fold (from 5% to 45%) with an increase in speed from 20 mph to 30 mph. Sen. Allran’s bill to make the fine for speeding in a school zone equal to that of speeding in a construction zone passed the House and Senate on April 28 and was signed by the Governor on May 3. Link: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=s49&submitButton=Go
CFTF Fact Sheet: http://www.ncleg.net/DocumentSites/Committees/NCCFTF/in%20the%20spotlight/S49%20Raising%20Fine%20for%20Speeding%20in%20a%20School%20Zone.pdf
Enhance penalty for driving impaired with a child in the car (S241)
Goes into Effect December 1, 2011
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading non-health related cause of death for children and impaired driving is a factor in 15% – 20% of those deaths. National data show that most children who die in crashes where alcohol is involved are the passenger of the impaired driver. Additionally, impaired drivers are less likely to buckle-up their children safely. Sens. Purcell, Allran and Atwater sponsored this legislation to enhance the penalty for driving impaired with a child under age in the car. It was ratified on June 18th and applies to offenses on or after December 1, 2011. http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=s241
Support efforts of State Board of Education to decrease sports injuries.
The Gfeller-Waller Athletic Concussion Awareness Act
Becomes Effective with the 2011-2012 School Year (August 25 for most traditional calendar schools)
The Gfeller-Waller Athletic Concussion Awareness Act requires that coaches, other school personnel and parents of middle and high school athletes receive information about concussions and prohibits same-day return-to-play. Only once cleared for play by specified health providers may athletes later return to practice or play. Becomes effective in the upcoming (2011-2012) school year. Sponsors include Reps. Folwell, Cook, McGrady and Glazier. It passed the House and Senate on June 9 and was signed by the Governor on June 16. H792: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011%20%20&BillID=h792
Monitor proposed changes to the graduated driver licenses system
Changes to GDL System (S636)
Changes become effective October 1, 2011
Since North Carolina adopted graduated driver licensing, crashes are down 38% for 16-year-olds and 20% for 17-year-olds, among the best results of any state. Time spent driving and gaining experience are critical for teens learning to drive more safely. Changes in Modify Graduated Licensing Requirements (S636) include requiring that learning drivers keep a log of time and conditions driven. Additionally, a provisional license will be revoked if the licensee is charged with a variety of serious driving violations, such as excessive speeding. The Division of Motor Vehicles is tasked with evaluating the effectiveness of the provisions by February 1, 2014. Sen. Rouzer sponsored the bill and Rep. Daughtry took it up in the House.
S636 link: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011%20%20&BillID=s636
Bills of CFTF Interest Still In Play
Require phased-in replacement of traditional smoke alarms with tamper-resistant 10 year lithium battery smoke alarms in rental units. PASSED SENATE 50-0
In the past five years, 75 children and hundreds of adults in North Carolina have died in fires. National data show that the majority of fire deaths in homes occur in homes without a working smoking alarm, often because the battery is inoperable. Unlike with conventional battery alarms, the batteries in tamper-resistant lithium alarms cannot be easily removed nor can they be used in other household items. Senator Bingham filed legislation to require that landlords replace standard smoke alarms with smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries. Other sponsors include Senators Forrester, Hartsell, Rabon and Stevens. The bill (S354) also provides that rental units may still rely on combination smoke/CO units where appropriate and use standard battery back-ups with hard-wired systems. Additionally, replacement costs can come out the security deposit if the tenant destroys the alarm. It passed the Senate 50-0 on May 10th. Please see fact sheet on CFTF website (under legislative agenda) for additional details. S354 link: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=s354
Since this bill passed one chamber, it is eligible to be considered in the short session (likely starting May 2012).
Raise the age at which a doctor’s prescription is required for youth to use tanning beds – S471
Current law requires that youth under age 13 have a written prescription from a doctor to use a tanning bed. The Youth Skin Cancer Prevention Act, sponsored by Senators Purcell, Mansfield, Forrester and Walters, seeks to raise the age to 18. This is important because girls are increasingly likely to use tanning beds as they get older. For example, compared to 14 year olds, 16 year olds are twice as likely to use tanning beds and 17 year olds are 3 times more likely. UV radiation in tanning can be 15 times as strong as the sun and even a single visit to a tanning salon can cause melanoma. Indeed, tanning increases a teen’s chance of getting melanoma by 75 percent. This bill passed the Senate Health Care Committee and was referred to Commerce. The issue was then incorporated into the Study Bill.
Study Bill: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=h773(see page 9)
The Study Bill directs the State Health Director to report to Health and Human Services Oversight Committee on issues including the impact of tanning beds and skin cancer, the effectiveness of regulation and other strategies to prevent adolescents from using tanning beds, and the economic impact of current and potential regulation of tanning beds. The Study Bill was not passed, but since a conference committee was appointed, it is eligible for consideration when the General Assembly comes back in July. Issues from study commissions may be considered during short session.
Track legislation on midwives and/or home births
Legislation seeks to establish a NC Council of Certified Professional Midwives which can set requirements for licensure, employee staff, set fees for licensure, determine fitness of applicants, conduct investigations and receive 3rd party payments. There are many other provisions as well. It was deemed appropriate for consideration by the Joint Legislative Committee on New Licensing Boards. It is assigned to Health and Human Services and then Finance in the House and Health in the Senate. H522 link: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011&BillID=H522
S662 link: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2011%20%20&BillID=s662
This issue was deemed proper for consideration by the Legislative Committee on New Licensing Boards. Since there is a fiscal/budget impact, it is eligible for consideration in during the 2012 short session.