In week eight of the 2013 legislative session, the General Assembly considered increasing penalties for child abuse, legalizing payday lending and repealing the estate tax.
Senate Bill 70/House Bill 75: “Kilah’s Law Increase Child Abuse Penalties”
“An act to increase the penalty for various criminal offenses of felony child abuse and to require that the official record of a defendant convicted of child abuse or other assaults against a minor indicates that the offense involved child abuse.”
- Passed readings in House and Senate; currently in committee
- Increases felony classes for five child abuse offenses
The bill’s title refers to Kilah Davenport, 3, of Union County, who was allegedly beaten severely by her stepfather, Joshua Houser, in May, 2012, suffering a fractured skull and brain damage.
Under SB 70, a parent or any other person caring for a child who assaults the child, resulting in serious bodily injury or in mental or emotional impairment of the child, is guilty of a Class B2 felony. In the worst case, they could serve up to 33 years.
Negligence in the care of a child showing “a reckless disregard for human life” which results in serious physical injury to the child is a Class G felony, carrying a maximum sentence of 31-47 months.
According to Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, 131,379 children across the state were referred to local Department of Social Services agencies for possible abuse and neglect in fiscal year 2011-12.
Senate Bill 89: “Deferred Presentment Services”
“An act to allow and regulate the business of providing deferred presentment services to certain persons.”
- Passed first reading in Senate; referred to Commerce Committee Feb. 14
- Legalizes and establishes rules for payday lending in N.C.
The bill allows “licensees” to charge a fee “to defray operational costs” not to exceed 15 percent on cash advances to customers, and limits cash advances to $500. The fee “shall not be deemed interest for any purpose of State law.”
Maximum fees for service are limited to three percent or five dollars, whichever is greater, for federal, state or local government checks, 10 percent or five dollars for personal checks and five percent or five dollars for all other checks.
House Bill 101/Senate Bill 114: “Repeal Estate Tax”
“An act to repeal the estate tax.”
- Favorable by the House; referred to Appropriations Committee Feb. 20
- Repeals estate tax under G.S. 105 Article 1A, effective Jan. 1, 2013.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act, signed into law Jan. 2, provides a $5 million estate tax exclusion for estates of decedents dying on or after Jan. 1, 2013. North Carolina currently levies an estate tax only when a federal estate tax is imposed.
In 2010, 123 N.C. estates were affected, according to the N.C. Budget and Tax Center. Under the new, higher estate tax exclusion, even fewer estates will owe taxes.
According to the Fiscal Research Division, a non-partisan staff agency of the GA, repeal of the estate tax will reduce state tax revenue by almost $300 million over the next five years.