Several new laws take effect with new year

Jan. 02, 2013 @ 12:59 PM

An effort to make day cares across North Carolina safer took effect with the new year Tuesday.

The new law, passed by the North Carolina General Assembly during the 2012 session, expands the criminal record check performed on child care providers.

"Specifically it will clarify that child care providers must have a record check prior to their employment, and every three years thereafter to catch any new offenses that may have occurred," said state Sen. Warren Daniel of Morganton when the Senate approved the legislation in June.

Warren made his statement to The Associated Press in an earlier story.

The law also prohibits any person convicted of child neglect or abuse, a sex offense or an attempt to commit a sexual offense from working in the child care field in the state.

There were several other laws that took effect on Tuesday, including a new grease law that places tougher penalties on those who steal cooking oil.

Under the amendment to the state's Rendering Act, any person who steals over $1,000 worth of grease, including the value of the container, can be charged with a felony. If the value is under $1,000, it is a misdemeanor.

The state reported that the theft of cooking oil has been on the increase because of its value in producing biodiesel fuel.

The General Assembly had considered proposals that included the requiring of a state license, precise records of how much grease came from where and having $1 million in liability insurance. Those proposals were later dismissed by lawmakers.

Now, legal collectors of cooking grease have to provide a statement of ownership instead of receiving a state license.

If a company uses the cooking grease to make biodiesel fuel they will be required to have $1 million in liability insurance.

Prior to the new law, restaurants had to pay to dispose of used cooking oil, but now they will get paid for recycling it.

Also starting Tuesday, landlords who install fire alarms in rental property will be required to have those alarms tamper-resistant with a 10-year lithium battery.

The new statute, however, does not apply to rental homes that have a hardwired alarm with a battery back-up or to homes with a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide alarm.

The North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force also asked the General Assembly to allow landlords to deduct any damage to a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm from a tenant security deposit.

Here is a list of other laws that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2013 (as published by the North Carolina Legislative Library:

S.L. 2011-263 (HB 36) EMPLOYERS & LOCAL GOV'T MUST USE E-VERIFY.

An Act To Require Counties, Cities, And Employers To Use The Federal E-Verify Program To Verify The Work Authorization Of Newly Hired Employees.

S.L. 2012-71 (HB 1069) INTESTATE PROPERTY/CHILD'S YEAR'S ALLOWANCE.

An Act To Increase The Minimum Amount Of Intestate Personal Property Passing To The Surviving Spouse And The Amount Of The Year's Allowance From A Decedent's Estate For A Surviving Child, To Reinsert Erroneously Removed References To A Child's "Next Friend" In The Statutes Relating To A Child's Year's Allowance, And To Specify That The Child's Year's Allowance May Be Paid To A Widower On The Child's Behalf As Well As To A Widow, As Recommended By The General Statutes Commission.

S.L. 2012-155 (HB 614) ENACT VOLUNTEER HEALTH CARE SERVICES ACT.

An Act Allowing Registered Sponsoring Organizations To Arrange For The Voluntary Provision Of Health Care Services In This State, Relieving Providers Of Voluntary Health Care Services From Additional Licensure Requirements, And Providing Limited Protection From Civil Liability To Persons Providing Voluntary Health Care Services In Association With Sponsoring Organizations.

S.L. 2012-173 (HB 1085) STATE HEALTH PLAN/STATUTORY CHANGES.

An Act To, For The State Health Plan For Teachers And State Employees, Which Covers Retirees Within The Retirement System, (1) Amend The Definition Of "Dependent Child" In Order To Comply With The Affordable Care Act, (2) Limit Enrollment Without A Qualifying Event To The Annual Enrollment Period, (3) Repeal The Optional Program Of Long-Term Care Benefits, And (4) Make A Clarifying Change Related To Coinsurance.