2018: NEW YEAR, NEW YOU, AND NEW LAWS

As happens every year, as North Carolina puts 2017 in its rear view and turns the calendar to 2018, several new laws have gone into effect.  In total, some 20 new laws began affecting North Carolinians as of January 1, 2018.  A brief look as some that may affect you:

Session Law 2017-10: Regulatory Reform Act of 2017-2017: Changes include clarification on franchisee \ franchisor employee status, modifications to the North Carolina State Building Code pertaining to private drinking wells, and changes to the North Carolina general contractor licensing application process.

Session Law 2017-90: Veteran-Owned Small Business/Annual Report: Requires the North Carolina Secretary of State to compile summary information about the number of veteran-owned small businesses and the number of service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses reporting in the State of North Carolina.  To do so, the annual report form from the Secretary of State will now permit the businesses to voluntarily indicate whether or not they are veteran-owned.  The purpose is to “assist the State in documenting the importance and impact of the State’s military population in our communities on our State and local economies”.

Session Law 2017-95: Driver Instruction/Law Enforcement Stops: This law mandates that the driver education curriculum shall now include instruction on law enforcement procedures for traffic stops, which will be developed by the State Highway Patrol, North Carolina Sheriff’s Association, and the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police.  The new curriculum will provide a description of the actions that a motorist should take during a traffic stop, including “appropriate interactions with law enforcement officers”.

Session Law 2017-130: Building Code Regulatory Reform: The law makes various changes and clarification to the statutes governing the creation and enforcement of building codes including: when or whether certification by a licensed architect or engineer is necessary for components of a North Carolina dwelling, requiring each inspection department to implement a process for informal internal review of inspection decisions made by the department’s inspectors, and changes to the hearing process before code enforcement agencies under the Building Code.

Session Law 2017-153: Uniform Power of Attorney Act: This represents a wholesale change to the laws governing Powers of Attorney in North Carolina.  North Carolina has now adopted the Uniform Power of Attorney Act as drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, albeit with some slight modifications.  (See more complete discussion on page 4)

Session Law 2017-214: Electoral Freedom Act of 2017:  This law was initially vetoed by Governor Cooper on October 9, 2017, before being overridden by the North Carolina General Assembly on October 17, 2017.  This law changes the definition of “political party” in North Carolina by reducing the number of signatures required for the formation of a new political party and for unaffiliated candidates to obtain ballot access eligibility.  The law also authorizes the establishment of political parties recognized in a substantial number of states in the prior presidential election and eliminates the judicial primaries for the 2018 general election.

By: Cody R. Loughridge