Let's take a quick look at some of the new laws which take effect today in North Carolina.
The big one is, of course, no texting while driving. Now, don't think you can be cute about this. But no, it applies to emailing, too. In fact it applies to any time you "manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person" while driving. You can do it while parking, though. Exceptions are carved out for GPS devices. And you can still use voice activation.
Kids are being protected better, as of today. There is a criminal law on the books, as of today, for cyberbullying a minor, or using a minor to cyberbully a parent. School buses have better protection: a new law allows for cameras on school buses to get at drivers who don't stop — the penalty for failure to stop and killing a kid is increased as well. Sex offenders cannot drive school buses anymore (this was a problem?). And solicitation of a minor by computer now extends to mobile devices.
- New rules regarding preservation of DNA evidence that is used to convict criminals
- It is illegal to "target picket" a single residence in a manner that would cause severe emotional stress to the occupant.
- School board members are now held to the same standard as police, sheriffs, court clerks, etc. when it comes to failure to discharge their duties
- Certain glass tubes which can serve as crack vials are now regulated.
- Stonger penalities against deadbeat dads who defy court orders to pay child support.
- Stronger penalities for removing or altering serial numbers on guns.
- With some exceptions, it is now illegal to own a venomous snake, crocodile, or a boa constrictor (or other "restricting snakes").
And my personal favorite:
AN ACT to create the offense of LARCENY, DESTRUCTION, DEFACEMENT, OR VANDALISM OF PORTABLE TOILETS OR PUMPER TRUCKS.
SECTION 1. Article 16 of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 14‑86.2. Larceny, destruction, defacement, or vandalism of portable toilets or pumper trucks.
Unless the conduct is covered under some other provision of law providing greater punishment, if any person steals, takes from its temporary location or from any person having the lawful custody thereof, or willfully destroys, defaces, or vandalizes a chemical or portable toilet as defined in G.S. 130A‑290 or a pumper truck that is operated by a septage management firm that is permitted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources under G.S. 130A‑291.1, the person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor."
SECTION 2. This act becomes effective December 1, 2009, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 21st day of May, 2009.