Senate gives nods to bills on school bus cameras, e-cigarette liquid, foreign judgments

A bill purporting to protect North Carolina companies from judgments levied in foreign courts was among several notable measures the state Senate passed or gave tentative approval to on Wednesday.

Posted Updated
Mark Binker
RALEIGH, N.C. — The state Senate met for about an hour on Wednesday afternoon. Here are some of the bills it handled:
E-liquids: The Senate voted 48-0 to regulate the sale of liquid refills for electronic cigarettes. As passed, the bill would require child-proof caps on any refills that contain nicotine, which can be harmful to children if swallowed. The bill now goes to the state House.
Cameras: Senators gave tentative approval to a bill that would let counties and local school districts issue civil penalties when an automated camera catches motorists passing a stopped school bus. The bill would allow local governments to issue a $500 civil fine based on the camera evidence. Although the chamber voted 46-2 in favor of the measure, it must vote again Thursday to send the bill to the House.
Foreign judgments: North Carolina companies need protection from unconstitutional foreign judgments, say the authors of Senate Bill 596, which the Senate passed 48-0.

"It says North Carolina is open for business, and we're going to protect you against foreign governments who might come here and violate our laws," said Sen. Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth. Her bill now heads to the House.

"Why do we need a law to keep foreign countries from doing something unconstitutional?" asked Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon.

Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, responded that the measure would combat "a disturbing trend" in foreign counties of opening companies to lawsuits in ways that would not be allowed here. Winners of those suits can then ask North Carolina courts to enforce the judgments.

"This change simply clarifies under what conditions their judgments would be allowed here in North Carolina," Newton said.

During a committee hearing earlier this week, Krawiec said the bill was specifically aimed a protecting tobacco company R.J. Reynolds from a lawsuit pending before the Canadian courts.


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