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New Laws To Include Tax, Rule Changes

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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina's law books are about to expand. Among new laws that will take effect Jan. 1 are 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. A new law would streamline the election process. It would require the state Board of Elections to develop a voting system that would generate a paper trail so voters could verify their votes.

In another move to streamline the way the state does business, Triangle drivers who are also homeowners could see an additional fee added to their property tax bill. The State is working on combining your car registration renewal fees with your property tax bill.

The health of North Carolina's prison population inspired the next new law. It would ban smoking inside North Carolina correctional facilities. Officials estimated that would save $200 every six months per inmate, which would amount to $400 a year.

Homeowners will get a break from those hefty homeowners association fees. A new law will limit late fees and reduce maximum fines by homeowners associations.

On the other hand, there's no break at the pump. The state's motor fuel tax will jump by nearly three cents per gallon next month -- the largest increase in 16 years. North Carolina has some of the highest fuel taxes in the Southeast.

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