The state legislature has passed several new laws ranging from December 1 to January 1.
The new laws range from serious, such as the new “no texting while driving” law, to wacky, such as the law about reptile ownership and defense against porta-potty pranks.
However, the law that has generated the biggest reaction is the one concerning smoking. Starting January 2, 2010, nonsmokers can breathe easier inside area bars and restaurants. 24 000 “No Smoking” signs are being distributed out to such places to increase awareness of the new law. Ashtrays are also now found outside instead of inside to promote outdoor smoking.
“I hate it when people smoke. It shows they have no consideration for others, because they are killing them from second hand smoke. That’s why this new law is good,” said Kelsey Hounshell, sophomore.
Anna Foley, sophomore, agrees.
“And it also promotes cleaner environment,” she added.
Several new driving or car-related laws are being employed. It is now illegal to cover up the state name, year sticker, or month sticker on a state license plate by a license plate frame, according to the General Assembly of North Carolina Website.
Another car related law is the new “No Texting While Driving” law. This law, along with “No Use of Wireless Device While Driving” law put in place July 1, 2008, basically prohibits you from using your phone while driving.
“I don’t like that law because it’s inconvenient. I don’t text a lot, and when I do, I’m careful. But I guess it safer this way,” said Caroline Gentry, sophomore.
It is now also illegal to steal a part of a car, based on the “Larceny of a Motor Vehicle Part” law. Apparently, it was legal before.
The safety of children, and the various ways that dangers can befall them has also been addressed in this month’s new laws.
A controversy about a North Carolina school bus driver having a criminal record as a sex offender triggered another new driving related law: “Sex Offender Can’t Drive Bus With Children.”
This law is “an act to provide that the division of motor vehicles shall not issue or renew
commercial drivers’ licenses with endorsements that qualify a person to drive a
commercial passenger vehicle or school bus for anyone required to register under the
sex offender and public protection registration programs” found on the General Assembly of North Carolina Website.
There is also a new law to protect children from cyber bullying.
It is a growing problem because as there are more ways of communication available to this age group, there will be more available ways to harass each other.
On the crazier side of the legal system, there has been an “act to create the offense of larceny, destruction, defacement, or vandalism of portable toilets or pumper trucks,” based on the recently employed “Offense for Portable Toilets/Pumper Trucks” law.
“Oh, I’m still tampering with them,” said Brandon Lohmuller, freshman. “The fact that it’s illegal now doesn’t make a difference to me.”
It is also even more illegal to steal timber, according to the “Increase Penalty/Timber Theft” law. This law is meant to increase the penalty for criminals who “cut, injure or remove” someone else’s timber, resulting in damages that exceed $1000 So if you steal someone’s timber but not more than $1000 worth, you should be alright.
The “Solar Collectors on Residential Properties” law limits the amount of solar power appliances you can install on your house. The appearance of these people’s houses is apparently more important than their carbon footprint.
There is also a new law limiting the length of laws.
“I think these new laws have good intentions, but implementing them is going to be difficult. It’s really hard to pull someone over for casually looking at their lap and prove that they were texting,” said Officer Faust.
Regardless, these new laws are made to prevent accidents and promote the safety of all.