From bills that affect large groups of people to the naming of a state raptor, hundreds of bills are in the state legislature including bills LGBTQ+ rights and opioids.
Here are a few of the bills currently being considered in the North Carolina Legislature.
House Bill 93: Require Naloxone Scripts with Opioid Scripts
House Bill 93 — introduced on Feb. 16 — would require health care practitioners who prescribe opioid medication to a patient to also prescribe an opioid antagonist for that patient under certain circumstances and for certain purposes.
The circumstances for providing an opioid antagonists — like Naloxone which rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse — include:
- The prescription dosage for the patient is 50 or more morphine milligram equivalents of an opioid medication per day.
- A schedule II controlled substance described in G.S. 90-90(1) is prescribed concurrently with a prescription for benzodiazepine.
- The patient presents with an increased risk for overdose, as evidenced by, but not limited to, a patient with a history of overdose, a patient with a history of substance use disorder, or (a patient at risk for returning to a high dosage of a Schedule II controlled substance described in G.S. 90-90(1) to which the patient is no longer tolerant.
The bill has over 50 co-sponsors including Rep. Ray Pickett (R — Blowing Rock).
More information on the bill can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookup/2021/H93.
Senate Bill 646 and 669: “Marijuana Justice and Reinvestment Act” and “Enact Medical Cannabis Act”
Two bills filed a day apart in the North Carolina Senate would make marijuana consumption legal in North Carolina.
The Marijuana Justice and Reinvestment Act — filed on April 6 — would allow the legal use of marijuana for persons 21 years of age or older and subject to taxation and regulation.
More information on Senate Bill 646 can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2021/S646.
The Enact Medical Cannabis Act — filed on April 7 — would follow other states in making medical marijuana use legal.
The bill states that the goal is “to protect patients with medical conditions, and their physicians and caregivers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture by allowing the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by medical conditions and their medical treatments.”
More information on Senate Bill 669 can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2021/S669.
House Bill 358: Save Women’s Sports Act
House Bill 358 would make it so any student participating on all athletic team for middle, secondary and high education schools shall be expressly designated as one of the following based on biological sex:
- Males, men or boys
- Females, women or girls
- Coed or mixed
The bill would require that those who are transitioning from male to female would not be allowed to play for a female sport team. James Alverson, a spokesperson for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, told the North Carolina Health News that there have been less than 10 requests for a gender request waiver — which is a written statement from the student, loved ones and health care professional that affirms the consistent gender identity and expression of which the student relates — since 2019.
Three states — Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas currently have laws that ban those who are transgender from participating in women’s sports.
After the Tennessee bill was signed into law in late March, ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg released a statement saying the organization would see the state in court against the bill.
“With this discriminatory and unconstitutional bill, lawmakers have now compromised trans children’s health, social and emotional development, and safety,” Weinberg said in a statement. “Instead of focusing on fear-based myths, our state should focus on the actual issues with gender parity in sports when it comes to funding, resources, pay equity and more. Promoting baseless fears about trans athletes does nothing to address those very real problems.”
The bill — introduced on March 22 — has over 40 sponsors including Pickett.
More information on House Bill 358 can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookup/2021/H358.
Senate Bill 392, 514 and 515: “ Mental Health Protection Act,” “Youth Health Protection Act” and “Health Care Heroes Conscience Protection Act”
Three other bills in the legislature also address LGBTQ rights.
The Mental Health Protection Act — filed on March 30 — would ban licensed clinical social workers, clinical mental health counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists and marriage and family therapists from using conversion therapy on an individual under age 18 or an adult who has a disability.
More information on Senate Bill 392 can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookup/2021/S392.
The Youth Health Protection Act — introduced on April 5 — would make it unlawful for anyone to perform surgeries that sterilize; perform a mastectomy; administer or supply any three specified medications that induce transient or permanent infertility; or to remove any otherwise healthy or non diseased body party or tissue on a minor.
This bill defines a minor as anyone under 21 years old.
One portion ofthe bill states that “If a government agent has knowledge that a minor under its care or supervision has exhibited symptoms of gender dysphoria, gender nonconformity, or otherwise demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner incongruent with the minor’s sex, the government agent or entity with knowledge of that circumstance shall immediately notify, in writing, each of the minor’s parents, guardians or custodians. The notice shall describe all of the relevant circumstances with reasonable specificity.”
More information on Senate Bill 514 can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookup/2021/S514.
The Health Care Heroes Conscience Protection Act — also filed on April 5 — would allow health care providers the right to not participate in or pay for any health care service which violates their conscience. The bill defines conscience as “the religious, moral, or ethical beliefs or principles held by any 36 medical practitioner, health care institution or health care payer.”
More information on Senate Bill 515 can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookup/2021/S515.
Senate Bill 364: Automatic voter registration
Senate Bill 364 — filed March 25 — would make it so public agencies would provide automatic voter registration to North Carolina residents.
Whenever someone goes to a drivers license office to renew, correct or get a drivers license, they will be automatically registered to vote or have the option to update their voter registration starting Jan. 1, 2022 if the bill becomes law.
A recent Carolina Forward poll found that automatic voter registration is popular in North Carolina. The poll found 56 percent of North Carolina registered voters support automatic voter registration, compared to only 40 percent opposed. Majorities of both Democrats (85 percent) and Independents (52 percent) support the proposal, as well as one in four Republicans (28 percent).
Carolina Forward is a nonprofit progressive policy organization.
More information on the automatic voter registration bill can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookup/2021/S364.
Senate Bills 66, 451 and House Bill 336: Environmental Bills
Multiple bills are currently in the state legislature regarding with the environment.
Senate Bill 451 is an act that would prohibit the use of non-recyclable, non-compostable or single-use plastic food service ware and single-use plastic bags.
The bill would prohibit state agencies and subdivisions that receive state funds from selling or providing food or beverages in or with disposable food service wares unless it was reusable, compostable or recyclable.
More information on Senate Bill 451 — filed on April 1 — can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2021/S451.
For those who hunt, Senate Bill 66 — an act to regulate the use of deer urine and other secretions for the taking of game — would make it unlawful to “use any excretion collected from a cervid, including feces, urine, blood, gland oil or other bodily fluid, for the purposes of taking or attempting to take, attracting or scouting wildlife” unless the excretion meets certain requirements.
Some of the requirements include that the excretion was determined by an independent laboratory to be free of chronic wasting disease crions and that the excretion is entirely collected from facilities participating in a deer protection program that follows certain criteria.
More information on the bill can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2021/S66.
House Bill 336 — Adopt Osprey State Raptor Act — would make the osprey the state raptor. North Carolina does not currently have a state raptor.
The bill states that ospreys are found along the coast and in many parts of the state and are “majestic birds that stand 21 to 26 inches tall, weigh up to four pounds and have wingspans that measure up to about six feet.”
More information on House Bill 336 — filed March 18 — can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2021/H336.
House Bill 35: A Pet is Family Special Registration Plate
A special registration plate fee would allow people to purchase a license plate that would have a picture of a paw print and read “My Pet Is Family.”
The fee would be $15 to have the special plate. Funds raised from that fee would go to the Sergei Foundation Inc.
Sergei Foundation Inc. is a North Carolina nonprofit that helps low income family pay for veterinarian costs for their pets. More information on the organization can be found at sergeifoundation.org/.
The bill — introduced on March 30 — currently has 12 co-sponsors and has been referred to the house committee on transportation.
More information on the bill can be found at www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2021/H435.