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Gas Tax, Prison Smoking Ban Among New State Laws

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Gas prices jumped nearly 3 cents per gallon Sunday as the state's motor fuel tax increased to its highest rate since the tax law went into effect in 1992.
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    2005 Legislation Effective Jan. 1, 2006

    North Carolina motorists are now paying 30 cents per gallon in state taxes -- the highest in the Southeast. The new increase will mean an additional $70 million in extra funding for state road projects.

    Among other laws that went into effect on the first day of 2006 were measures to restore confidence in the election process, as well as a smoking ban in prison.

    The race for state school superintendent position stretched from 2004 into 2005 because of a voting dispute resulted in a new law that streamlines the election process and requires the state Board of Elections to develop a voting system that would generate a paper trail so voters could verify their votes.

    The health of North Carolina's prison population inspired a law that bans smoking inside North Carolina correctional facilities. Officials estimate that the law could save $400 per year per inmate.

    Homeowners will also get a break from hefty homeowners association fees now that another new law limits late fees and reduces maximum fines by homeowners associations. The law also says that neighborhood associations cannot prevent homeowners from flying the American flag or state flag on their private property.