By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
April 19, 2013
RALEIGH — Racing to meet April’s filing deadlines, lawmakers at the N.C. General Assembly put forth an avalanche of bills this month, many that the Christian Action League is adding to its already long list of proposed legislation to monitor.
“There are certainly a lot of good bills that deserve our support and that we hope will be heard, but there are also the bad and the ugly that need our attention as well,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, the League’s executive director.
Among the more than 1,700 bills filed this session, the following is a list of some of the bills on the League’s radar.
ALCOHOL and DRUGS:
S-657 Stop Methamphetamine Production – This bill would make any drug containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine a Schedule III controlled substance.
H-532 No drinking in EMS and Law Enforcement vehicles – In addition to prohibiting alcohol use in these vehicles, the bill would make it a crime to drive one of these vehicles while alcohol remains in a person’s body.
H-536 Ignition Interlock Required/All DWIs – Just as the name implies, this bill would require anyone convicted of an impaired driving offense to have an interlock device installed on their car’s ignition before getting a limited driving privilege.
H-685, H-813 and S-724 Prohibited Imitation Controlled Substances – This bill would deal with the manufacture, possession, sale, use and delivery of “fake drugs,” substances that are substantially similar in chemical structure to a controlled substance and purported to act like that substance.
H-702 Tourism ABC Permits – This bill would create an end-run around current local option alcohol laws, usurping authority from local voters in determining whether alcohol should be sold in a specific community.
H-781 Increase Small Brewery Limits – A bid to increase the small brewery limits from 25,000 barrels to 60,000, this bill would circumvent the state’s three-tier system of alcohol sales, allowing more breweries to bypass the role of the distributor.
H-782 Fortified Malt Beverages Act – An attempt to keep “alcopops” out of the hands of teens, this bill would clarify the definition of a fortified malt beverage, ensure that these products are taxed properly and sold only in ABC stores.
H-829 Sale of Growlers by Certain ABC Permittees – This bill would allow wine shops and anyone with an on-premise or off-premise malt beverage permit to sell malt beverages in re-sealable 64-ounce containers.
H-842 Spiritous Liquor Sales-Distilleries – This plea to allow distilleries to sell their liquor onsite seems to pop up every session, another attempt to circumvent the Alcoholic Beverage Control system, which mandates that spirits be sold only in ABC stores.
H-516 Name/Address of Lottery Winner Confidential – As the name implies, this bill would allow lottery winners to retain anonymity.
H-547 Tax & Regulate Sweepstakes – The CAL has already been active fighting this bill, which would legitimize video sweepstakes gambling, the very thing lawmakers have been working to end over the past several years. The N.C. Supreme Court upheld the state’s sweepstakes ban in December 2012.
H-809 Game Nights/Nonprofit Fundraisers – This bill would allow charities to have casino nights, complete with gambling and alcohol, to raise funds. Again, why would the state want to legitimize an illegal practice unless we’re training our citizenry for legalized gambling? Not a good idea.
SEXUALITY & SEX EDUCATION
H-694 Clarify Input on Repro/Character Ed – An effort to restore abstinence until marriage as the expected standard for school-age children, this bill would require parental signatures before certain instruction in reproductive health and safety and would call for character education throughout the curriculum.
H-559 Teen Dating Violence Prevention – Students will be taught more about healthy relationships and the warning signs of dating violence and abusive behavior if this bill is passed. It would require school systems to implement dating violence and abuse policies.
S-658 UNC/Dormitory Rules – In response to UNC’s decision to allow so-called “gender neutral” housing, this bill would prohibit the University of North Carolina from assigning members of the opposite sex to the same room, suite or apartment unless they are siblings or legally married.
H-647 Nondiscrimination in State/Teacher Employment – Promoted by Equality NC, this bill is aimed at adding special protections for homosexual, bisexual and transgender state employees and local boards of education employees.
H-429 & S-544 Nondiscrimination in State Employment – This bill would give special protections to homosexual, bisexual and transgender individuals on the state payroll. It would expand the provisions of H-647.
H-230 and S-189 Amend Law Defining Home Schools – This bill would simply update the definition of home schools to reflect how the schools operate today. It would allow for co-operatives and other schooling options.
H-144 Homeschool Education Income Tax Credit – This bill would grant home school families a tax credit of $1,250 per semester for each eligible child.
S-683 Safe Harbor/Victims of Human Trafficking – This measure would not only create a “safe harbor” for victims of trafficking and minors sold into prostitution, it would also toughen penalties for traffickers, pimps and johns and help victims receive restitution.
H-221 Increase Penalties for Human Trafficking – Among other provisions, this bill would make trafficking a Class E felony.
H-825 Minor can’t be proscecuted for prostitution – Similar to the Safe Harbor bill, this bill would prevent minors from being prosecuted for prostitution and would instead have them taken into temporary custody as abused juveniles and reported to the Department of Social Services.
H-855 Human Trafficking – Also very similar to S-683, this bill would ensure that minors who are victims of human trafficking are treated as victims and provided with restitution.
MARRIAGE & PARENTING
S-518 Healthy Marriage Act – This legislation would extend the waiting period for divorce to two years, allow couples to live together during that time and require them to attend courses, either together or separately with the hope of saving the marriage.
H-711 Define Parental Rights Standard/Statutory Law – A very short but important bill, this would confirm that “the liberty of a parent to direct the upbringing, education and care of his or her child is a fundamental right.”
S-627 Study Grandparent Visitation Rights – This bill would set up a 10-member committee to study grandparent visitation rights and child custody.
S-675 Eliminate Exceptions/Med Treatment/Minors – An attempt to expand the medical treatment of a minor for which a parent or guardian must consent, this bill would result in increased recognition of parental rights by the state.
S-370 Respect for Student Prayer – This legislation would clarify student rights to pray in school, prohibit prayer officially sanctioned by schools (in accordance with the Constitution) and require school employees to show respect for student led prayer.
S-498 & H-730 Modify Religious Employer Exemption — In response to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, these bills would support business owners who have moral objects to the use or provision of contraceptive drugs or devices.
S-719 Student’s Organizations/Rights & Recognition – This simple and short bill would clarify that student organizations may determine the organization’s core functions and resolve any disputes. This would prevent colleges from demanding — in the name of non-discrimination — that organizations allow students opposed to their cause to take leadership positions within them.
H-494 Rowan County Defense of Religion Act of 2013 – This House Joint Resolution is an effort to support the Rowan County Board of Commissioners in their use of pre-meeting invocations. The board is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union, which wants to stop the prayers.
H-730 Health Care Conscience Protection Act – Another response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, this bill would modify certain laws pertaining to abortion and contraceptive health insurance coverage so that health care providers could not be forced to take part in procedures that result in abortion. It includes provisions similar to those in S-498 and H-730.
H-735 Protect Religious Student Groups – Very similar to S-719, this bill would clarify that student organizations have the right to determine their own internal affairs, selecting leaders and members and defining their doctrines, etc.
H-751 N.C. Religious Freedom Restoration – Similar to federal legislation, this bill is an attempt to ensure that the free exercise of religion is not burdened unless the state has a compelling reason to do so.
SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
S-691 Unlawful to Assist Another to Commit Suicide – Just as its name implies, this bill would make it illegal to help someone kill himself by providing the means, participating in the act or helping him plan the event.
H-716 Clarify Law/Prohibit Sex Selective Abortion – As you may have read on the CAL web site, this bill would fine a doctor at least $10,000 for performing or trying to perform an abortion “with knowledge or an objective reason to know” that the child’s gender is a significant factor in the pregnant woman’s seeking the abortion. No child should be murdered for being the wrong gender.
S-308 Amend Woman’s Right to Know Act – Among other provisions, this bill would require that doctors performing abortions remain on the premises and available to the patient until she leaves. It would also require the doctor to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.
S-224 & H-360 Sunday Hunting on Private Land – This bill would allow hunting on Sunday on land owned by the hunter or on land for which the hunter has written permission to hunt. It would overturn the state’s 144-year-old ban on hunting on the Lord’s Day.