New laws are going into effect in the Tar Heel State. Here’s what you need to know.
RALEIGH, N.C. — People across the Carolinas are ringing in the new year this weekend and looking ahead to what’s to come in 2023. With the new year comes new laws in North Carolina that go into effect on Jan. 1.
Criminal Justice Reform
This law was signed by Governor Cooper on Sept. 2, 2021, and creates protections and training for law enforcement, changes use of force reporting conduct, and creates provisions for the speedy release of body cam footage, among other changes.
Most of these changes went into effect when the act was signed into law but one section, Section 2, finally is official on Jan. 1, 2023.
Section 2 of the act adds a section to the General Statutes about criminal records checks and fingerprinting for anyone who applies to be a criminal justice officer.
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The section requires the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct these background checks and provide the information to the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission. The applicant will also have their fingerprints submitted to the SBI to be placed in a state database.
Judges in Stanly/Montgomery Counties
This law was signed by Gov. Cooper on Sept. 10, 2021, and creates a requirement for judges elected in North Carolina District 20A to reside in the counties they are seeking office in.
District 20A encompasses Montgomery and Stanly Counties but when the former county was added to the district in 2018, no provision was in place to require a judge to live in the county they would represent. This law acts as a way to change that.
2021 Appropriations Act
This law was signed by Gov. Cooper on Nov. 18, 2021, and adds requirements for certain government agencies and resections judicial districts.
Section 8.10 adds provisions in Chapter 58 of the General Statutes relating to the “Duties of Office of the State Fire Marshal” and is the first change going into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, in the document.
The State Fire Marshal is required to educate every fire department about the state’s findings on the use of Aqueous Film-Forming Foams and inform them that fire departments should report the use of the foam for proper studying.
Section 16.7 adds a seventh district judge position for District 13. This judge will be the fourth district judge for Brunswick County and only residents in that county will be able to vote for the position.
This section also adds judges in various districts in the state. The full list of changes can be found in the bill’s full text.
Section 19C.9 handles a number of changes relating to law enforcement and corrections agencies.
Part of this section calls for the “Division of Adult Correction” to replace various agencies named in state statutes.
Budget Technical Corrections
This law was signed into law by Gov. Cooper on Dec. 6, 2021, and provides various corrections to existing laws, with most of them going into effect when the bill was signed into law.
Section 5.6 changes the number of resident judges in two judicial districts. District 21A will now have two judges instead of just one. Conversely, District 21B, will now have just one judge instead of two. Both of these districts cover portions of Forsyth County.
Revenue Laws Technical, Clarifying & Administrative Changes
This law was signed by Gov. Cooper on June 29, 2022, and makes changes to business tax definitions and tax penalties.
The first change, labeled in Section 1.1 of the bill, adds a slight net worth definition change for foreign businesses. The full change reads, “The net worth of a foreign entity filing a federal income tax return is based on the value of assets deemed to be in the United States.”
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Section 5.6 reduces the tax penalty for failure to pay on time from 10% to 5% of the tax. The North Carolina Department of Revenue has an info sheet on tax penalties.
The rest of the bill went into effect when it was signed into law.
Organized Retail Theft
This law was signed by Gov. Cooper on June 30, 2022, and amends the existing organized retail theft crime law to include penalties for online marketplaces that allow sellers to distribute counterfeit or stolen goods.
North Carolina lawmakers note in the bill that many people buy goods online and need measures in place to protect them from third-party sellers on online marketplaces that may be selling fraudulent, stolen, or counterfeit products.
Online marketplaces will be required to gather information from high-volume sellers that earn at least $20,000 a year on their platforms. This information includes bank account numbers, tax identification numbers, and contact information.
These third-party sellers will also be required to provide contact information and physical addresses to consumers. Sellers will also need to disclose if they received a product from another entity and be transparent about where the product came from.
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Any sellers that a marketplace finds to have violated these requirements will need to inform the seller that they have violated these conditions and will have 10 days to address the issue or be suspended from sales on the marketplace.
If a marketplace is found to have violated this condition, the North Carolina Attorney General may bring a civil action against the marketplace to enforce the requirements or obtain damages or restitution for residents.
Qualifying Farmer Zoo Sales Tax Exemption
This law was signed by Gov. Cooper on July 7, 2022, and changes tax exemption for farmers and wildlife managers in three main ways.
First, it allows farmers that qualify with zoo operations to purchase items for their zoo using qualifying farmer sales tax exemption certificates. This is for items purchased starting on Jan. 1, 2023.
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Second, it provides a sales tax exemption for specific items a wildlife manager purchases for wildlife management activities. This was effective starting with purchases on Oct. 1, 2022.
Finally, it expands the property tax classification for wildlife conservation land. This was effective starting July 1, 2022; property considered wildlife conservation land is taxed at a lower value than the fair market value.
Various Court Changes
This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on July 7, 2022, makes changes to the General Statutes, as requested by the Administrative Office of the Courts, and suspends the automatic expunction of dismissed criminal charges, not guilty verdicts, and findings of not responsible in addition to other changes to the expunction laws.
Many parts of this law went into effect in 2022 on July 7, Aug. 1, Oct. 1, and Dec. 1. However, a few sections of the law go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
Section 16 of the law revises statutes to reflect the switch to the use of electronic documents in the court system. Subsections regarding the responsibilities of the district attorney’s office and judicial officials with prior conviction levels when it comes to felony and misdemeanor sentencing go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
Sections 17 and 18 make corrections to statutes relevant to the Department of Adults Correction. These go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, and will apply to
offenses committed starting on that date.
Section 20 details the in-service training each magistrate will “annually and
satisfactorily” complete each year. This also goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The subjects for training include, but are not limited to:
- Setting conditions of pretrial release.
- Impaired driving laws.
- Issuing criminal processes.
- Issuing search warrants.
- Orders of protection.
- Summary ejectment laws.
Bond Info Transparency/ Local Government Commission Toolkit II
This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on July 7, 2022, aims to increase the transparency of bond referenda in North Carolina by requiring local government units to make additional disclosures. It also makes changes to strengthen the monitoring system that oversees the financial operations of local units. It also gives charter schools authorization to participate in the State Treasurer’s Ancillary Governmental Participant Investment Program.
Most of the law went into effect immediately on July 7 and applied to bonds issued under bond orders and contracts starting Oct. 1, 2022. Section 9, however, goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
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Section 9 does two main things. First, it requires that finance officers may not have fidelity bonds less than $50,000 or 10% of the unit’s annually budgeted funds, up to $1 million — whichever is greater. The change to add the 10% option was requested by the Local Government Commission, saying the current bond minimum requirement was insufficient to protect assets.
The second element of Section 9 gives charter schools authorization to participate in the State Treasurer’s Ancillary Governmental Participant Investment Program.
Public Safety Reform
This law was signed by Gov. Cooper on July 8, 2022, and aims to modify North Carolina laws relating to public safety.
Most of this law has become effective already, with effective dates for different sections of the law ranging from July to October. Several sections and subsections that go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, and are focused on technical corrections to statutes reflecting the creation of the new Department of Adult Correction.
Additionally, effective Jan. 1, inmates working for Correction Enterprises will be paid a maximum of $5 per day unless additional payment is specifically approved by the Secretary of the Department of Adult Correction, or if state or federal laws require a higher salary.
Private Protective Services Licensing Modifications
This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on July 8, 2022, makes multiple changes to the Private Protective Services Board as well as the Private Protective Services profession.
Multiple sections within the law already went into effect, but Section 2 goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, and changes the effective date for licensure exemptions for licensed private investigators or permitted trainees that were licensed before Dec. 31, 2021.
Barbers/ Electrolysis Boards/Merger
This law was signed by Gov. Cooper on July 8, 2022, and merges the State Board of Barber Examiners and the Board of Electrolysis Examiners. The merged board is known as the North Carolina Board of Barber and Electrolysis Examiners.
While some sections of the law went into effect in July, Section 1 and Section 2 become effective on Jan. 1, 2023. These sections specifically deal with applications for licensure, examination and renewal that are submitted starting Jan. 1.
Appointments to the board were supposed to be chosen by Dec. 1, 2022, and the first terms of these appointees begin on Jan. 1.