Legislative update

Dylan LightfootStaff

April 3, 2013

Last week, the House passed a bill making handgun permit information confidential. The General Assembly is also considering a bill rolling back renewable energy requirements, an amendment of divorce law imposing a two-year waiting period with counseling stipulations and an act establishing an independent Public Charter School Board.

House Bill 17: “Gun Permits/Confidentiality

“An act to provide for the confidentiality of information regarding concealed handgun permits and pistol purchase permits.”

• Passed House 97-20 March 26

• Currently in Senate Judiciary I Committee

• Co-sponsored by Rep. Jonathon Jordan, R-Ashe, Watauga

The bill reads: “Except as provided otherwise…the list of permit holders and the information collected by the sheriff to process an application for a permit are confidential and are not a public record under G.S. 132-1.”

Sheriffs’ offices “shall keep a record of all licenses or permits issued under this article, including the name, date, place of residence, age, former place of residence, etc., of each such person, firm, or corporation to whom for which a license or permit is issued,” and “shall make the records available upon request to all State and local law enforcement agencies.”

Also, “Every dealer in pistols…shall keep an accurate record of all sales thereof, including the name, place of residence, date of sale, etc., of each person, firm, or corporation to whom or which such sales are made.”

This act will be effective Dec. 1, 2013

House Bill 298: “Affordable and Reliable Energy Act”

“An act to reduce the burden of high energy costs on the citizens of N.C. by eliminating renewable energy portfolio standards; and to provide for cost recovery by public utilities for certain costs of compliance with renewable energy portfolio standards.”

• Filed March 13, currently in Subcommittee on Energy and Emerging Markets

• Senate Bill 365 version passed first reading March 20

This legislation would strike a 2007 requirement that, by 2012, three percent of all public electric utility sales must come from renewable resources, increasing to 12.5 percent by 2021.

The bill also eliminates a requirement that electric power suppliers increase their solar-generated power from 0.02 percent in 2010 to 0.2 percent in 2018.

Senate Bill 518: “Healthy Marriage Act”

“An act amending the laws pertaining to divorce to establish a two-year waiting period to file for an absolute divorce; to allow a couple to live together during the…waiting period; and to require…a couple complete courses on communication and the impact of divorce on children.”

    According to this amendment of divorce law (G.S. 50-6), “Marriages may be dissolved and the parties thereto divorced…upon satisfying the following requirements before filing for divorce…”

    “The spouse seeking the divorce shall give a written notice of intent to file for divorce to the other spouse at the beginning of the two year waiting period…there is no requirement that the husband and wife live separate and apart.”

    During the waiting period, the couple must complete courses on communication and conflict resolution, but not necessarily together.

    Senate Bill 337: “N.C. Public Charter School Board”

    • Filed March 28, passed first reading April 1

    • Currently in Senate Committee on Rules and Operations

    The power of final approval for charter applications is taken away from the State Board of Education, which can only veto Charter School Board action by a three-fourths vote.

    The act is effective when it becomes law.