Raleigh, N.C. — At the stroke of midnight that rang in New Year's Day, the last set of laws passed by the General Assembly in 2013 and 2014 went into effect.
Most of the flashy stuff lawmakers did last year, such as new criminal laws making it a felony to steal a Venus flytrap, went into effect in 2014. But a few tax changes and a grab-bag of civil laws take effect Thursday. Here are five you may want to know about:
1) A change to the state's film incentive program will limit the grants available for movie and television producers that use North Carolina as a backdrop for their productions. Industry officials say they are already seeing business head to other states that have more generous programs, such as Georgia.
2) This is a holdover from 2013's tax reform bill, but the corporate income tax is scheduled to drop from 6 percent to 5 percent for the 2015 tax year. It's unclear what part, if any, this change will play in aiding or frustrating slower-than-expected tax collections that have left North Carolina coffers $190 million short of projections as of December.
3) The state will begin imposing a fuel tax similar to the tax paid on gasoline and diesel on cars and trucks that run on natural gas.
4) Provisions of a bill meant to keep public employees from artificially driving up their post-retirement pension payments late in their careers, a practice known as pension spiking, go into effect.
5) Those selling property in the state will have to give buyers a separate form detailing whether the mineral rights on that property are still attached or have been sold. This move is meant to help buyers of property in areas where drilling for natural gas is taking place. North Carolina officials expect to issue the state's first drilling permits sometime in 2015.
Links to more laws that the General Assembly voted to put in place last year are available from the legislature's website.