New laws on firearms, welfare recipients go into effect Oct. 1
Posted September 28, 2013
Updated October 1, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Laws dealing with firearms rights, health care rates, abortion, motorcycle safety and carbon monoxide detectors in hotels go into effect Tuesday.
When the General Assembly passes a bill and the governor signs it, some measures will go into effect right away. The rest take effect in clumps, typically on the first day of every month from September through January.
The General Assembly produces a list of the effective date of each bill. Among the measures that take effect Oct. 1:
Abortion (Senate Bill 353): Two sections of the bill – broadening the number of health care workers who can opt out of participating in abortion procedures and preventing any health plan offered on a federal Affordable Care Act exchange from offering abortion coverage – have already gone into effect.
On Oct. 1, new prohibitions on sex-selective abortions and new requirements for abortion clinic standards begin. The standards have been controversial because many clinics say they will be forced to make unnecessary, costly upgrades or close.
Motorcycle safety (Senate Bill 353): Due to the curious and controversial legislative history, the same bill carrying new abortion regulations also increases the fines and other penalties for drivers who cause an accident involving a motorcycle. Those new motorcycle safety provisions also go into effect Oct. 1.
Guns (House Bill 937): The bulk of a sweeping bill adjusting the state's firearms laws goes into effect this month.
The highest profile provision in the bill expands the number of places where those with concealed handgun permits may carry guns, including bars and restaurants that serve alcohol (although those who carry a weapon are prohibited from drinking), and playgrounds.
The measure places more restrictions on when sheriffs may reject a pistol purchase permit and removes the records of concealed handgun permit holders and pistol purchase permit holders from public view. The measure also allows concealed handgun permit holders to bring firearms onto college campuses and public school campuses, as long as the guns are locked in a vehicle. More information on state gun laws is available in a revised Q+A.
Big Gulps and fat suits (House Bill 683): Restaurants and food manufacturers will have immunity from lawsuits over the nutritional content of their food under what was known as the Common Sense Consumption Act. Specifically, the law will not allow claims "arising from weight gain, obesity, associated health conditions, or long-term consumption of food." A separate part of the same bill prohibits local governments from restricting the size of fountain sodas that can be sold in stores and restaurants, but that part went into effect this summer.
Drug screening for welfare (House Bill 392): A measure that will require applicants for federal welfare payments that are paid in cash to undergo drug testing survived a gubernatorial veto and goes into effect Oct. 1.
The same measure requires county social services offices to share information with law enforcement regarding those fleeing arrest who might apply for welfare programs.
Health care costs (House Bill 834 and Senate Bill 473): Hospitals will have to make public the costs of their most common medical procedures under a health care transparency bill that passed this summer. The measure aims to make consumers more aware of the costs associated with health services.
Carbon monoxide detectors (House Bill 74): Hotels and motels that use certain kinds of fuel-burning appliances will be required to install carbon monoxide detectors starting Oct. 1. That measure, part of a broader regulatory reform package, was inspired by the deaths of three people at a Boone hotel this summer. The same measure will allow bed-and-breakfast inns to serve three meals a day.
Pertussis education and awareness (Senate Bill 486): Hospitals are now required to give new parents "free, medically accurate educational information about pertussis disease and the availability of the tetanus-diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine to protect against pertussis disease" soon after their child is born. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, can be deadly for very young children.
Cell tower deployment (House Bill 664): This new law limits when and why local governments can reject requests to erect new towers and antennae for mobile devices, such as cell phones.