Surveying the Legislative Landscape

A look at some of the current, eye-popping, legislative proposals and bills.

Nelda Holder, photo by Tim Barnwell
Nelda Holder
Photo: Tim Barnwell
Legislative News by Nelda Holder –

From ICE to firearm storage to medical cannabis to abortion rights, with lots of twists and turns in between, January brought the expected host of bills to the North Carolina Legislature.

Some of the more interesting or most public-affecting possibilities are briefly described here, offering a possible map for you to follow at the NCGA website,

(Cue the NCGA website commercial)

You’ve heard this before from me, but there is a vast complex of helpfully organized information accessible at Get the latest versions of the bills and find out who is sponsoring what, or research the legislature itself or the host of educational resources collected there. Find committee meeting dates and tune into live hearings. Or contact your very own legislators—address, email and phone numbers are waiting for you there.

Now back to our regularly scheduled column.

There will be much more proposed legislation to come, but these initial January offerings offer plenty to gnaw on for now. Some that really caught my eye include the codification of Roe v. Wade abortion protections (HB 19/SB 19); an honoring of civil rights contributions in this state (HB 42); and a Fair Maps Act (HB 9) to amend our NC Constitution in order to establish an independent redistricting commission—taking this troublesome football known as redistricting out of the hands of the General Assembly.

This is an idea that has been spotted in the legislative halls and in the government watchdog enclaves for a very long time, in light of successful models elsewhere, but which has not heretofore gained enough traction to be enacted.

Then there are the eye-popping proposals that do not tread lightly on the legislation scale. For example, Republican-led HB 43 (Prohibition of Certain Hormone/Surgery/Minors) would disallow parental control in certain medical decisions, while SB 49 (Parents’ Bill of Rights) is enthusiastically pro-parental control while willing to include the ironic juxtaposition of “to make health care decisions for his or her child, unless otherwise provided by law.” Head-scratcher, that one.

At any rate, here are some of the legislative ingredients for the current Raleigh pot.

HB 9 (Fair Maps Act): Would establish the Independent Redistricting Process to revise electoral districts for Congress and the NC General Assembly after the return of every decennial census taken by order of Congress. Work would be through the NC Citizens Redistricting Commission.

HB 10 (Require Sheriffs to Cooperate with ICE): Would require compliance with immigration detainers and administrative warrants plus special reports from local law enforcement.

HB 11 (Schools for the Deaf and Blind): Would provide that the Eastern NC School for the Deaf, the NC School for the Deaf, and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind are governed by trustees. (The State Board of Education is the current governing agency.) Each school would be governed by a separate five-member board of trustees with two members appointed by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House; two appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and one appointed by the State Board of Education.

HB 14 (Back the Blue Act): Would establish a study of the costs and benefits of excluding law enforcement retirement pay from the state individual income tax.

HB 15 (Study on Eliminating the Grocery Tax): Would require the Revenues Law Study Committee to study the feasibility and effect of excluding groceries from local sales taxes.

HB 19 (Codify Roe and Casey Protections): Would codify the essential holdings of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA v. Casey, preventing the State from imposing “an undue burden on the ability of a woman to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability.” This bill would further allow the State to restrict that choice after viability “unless such a termination is necessary to preserve the life or health of the woman.”

HB 21 (Energy Security Act of 2023): Would require public utilities to provide security systems for substations.

HB 24 (Review of Federal Acts/Rules/Regulations): Would provide for legislative review or attorney general review of federal acts to determine the constitutionality of those acts and to prohibit the implementation of unconstitutional federal laws, rules, and executive orders. (“Federal action” meaning any federal rule, law, or executive order.)

HB 39 (Kayla’s Act: Protecting Domestic Violence Victims): Would modify laws pertaining to domestic violence and victim protection.

HB 42 (Honoring NC’s Contributions to Civil Rights): Would authorize the African American Heritage Commission to study the feasibility of establishing monuments commemorating events and persons relating to the civil rights movement in the state and appropriate funds for markers along the state’s Civil Rights Trail.

HB 43 (Prohibition of Certain Hormone/Surgery/Minors): Would “protect minors from administration of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and other related actions, procedures and treatments.”

HB 44 (Constitutional Amendment: Repeal Literacy Test): Would repeal the currently-on-the-books requirement that every person presenting him/herself to register to vote should be able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language.

HB 47 (School Protection Act): Would allow security guard/patrol professionals to carry firearms on educational property.

HB 49 (Protect Religious Meeting Places): Would allow concealed-handgun-carry under certain conditions in buildings used as both schools and places of religious worship.

HB 50 (Repeal Pistol Purchase Permit): Would repeal the pistol purchase permit requirement.

SB 3 (NC Compassionate Care Act): Would change existing NC laws as necessary to protect patients and their doctors from criminal and civil penalties for the medical use, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis.

SB 15 (Hands Free NC): Would make using wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle on a public street, highway, or vehicular area unlawful.

SB 19 (Codify Roe and Casey Protections): (See companion bill HB 19)

SB 40 (Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal): (See companion bill HB 50)

SB 41 (Protect Religious Meeting Places): (See companion bill HB 49)

SB 44 (Mobile Beauty Salons): Allows for licensure of mobile beauty salons and provisions for safe and hygienic operation.

SB 46 (Medical Billing Transparency): Would prevent state citizens from surprise billing by out-of-network healthcare providers that have rendered healthcare services at in-network facilities.

SB 49 (Parents’ Bill of Rights): Would enumerate the rights of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of their minor children.

SB 50 (Require Cooperation with ICE): Would require compliance with immigration detainers and administration warrants and require certain reports from local law enforcement (see HB 10).

SB 51 (Kayla’s Act: Protecting Domestic Violence Victims): (See H 39.)

SB 58 (Protect Critical Infrastructure): Would increase punishment for property crimes committed against facilities involved in the transmission of telephone, broadband, or cable services and facilities involved in the production, storage, transmission or distribution of electricity, fuel, or another form or source of energy.

SB 67 (Firearm Safe Storage Awareness Initiative): Would launch a statewide firearm safe storage awareness initiative to educate the public about the importance of the safe storage of firearms and to facilitate the distribution of gun locks.

That’s the list for this month!



Nelda Holder is the author of The Thirteenth Juror – Ferguson: A Personal Look at the Grand Jury Transcripts.