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These laws went into effect on Jan. 1 in North Carolina

From laws supporting mental health for law enforcement to ABC legislation, here's what's in store for 2022.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Friday night, many people across North Carolina rang in the new year. With the arrival of 2022, several laws will go into effect in the Tar Heel State. Here's a closer look.

One thing to keep in mind: some aspects of these laws may have gone into effect when the bills were first signed into law.

Licensure and board for behavior analysists

This law, signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on May 17, prohibits people from practicing as licensed behavior analysts or assistant behavior analysts without a specific state license, with some exemptions. Effective Jan. 1, violations to Article 43 within the behavior analyst licensure law will become a Class 2 misdemeanor. 

Additionally, the law establishes an NC Behavior Analysis Board with five members. Three of those members will be appointed by the governor, one with a recommendation from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and one with a recommendation from the President Pro Tem. of the Senate. 

The board will, among other things, determine the qualification of applicants for behavior analysis licensure. Individuals hoping to obtain or renew a license will apply to the board and must prove they meet the criteria. 

Including additional information on health benefit plan ID cards

Under this law, signed by Gov. Cooper on June 11, every insurer offering a health benefit plan will be required to provide the health benefit plan subscriber or members with an insurance identification card. 

The card is required to contain several pieces of information: 

  1. The policyholder's obligations for copayments for primary care office visits, specialty care office visits, urgent care visits, and emergency room visits
  2. The phone number or web address for the subscriber, member or service provider to obtain confirmation of eligibility, benefits verification to estimate patient financial responsibility, prior authorization for services and procedures, the list of in-network participating providers, the employer group number, and special mental health medical benefits if applicable -- all in compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rules.
  3. An indication of if the health benefit plan is a fully insured plan or a self-funded plan. 

Changes to laws relating to service purchases under certain retirement systems

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on June 28, makes technical, clarifying and administrative changes to laws relating to the retirement service purchases under the retirement systems for teachers, state employees, local government employees, and the consolidated judicial system.

The law is broken down into several sections clarifying the changes made to each retirement system. It applies to purchases of creditable service occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2022, unless otherwise stated. 

Technical, conforming and other modifications to laws pertaining to the Department of Health and Human Services

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on July 2, specifically aims to protect North Carolina citizens from the unlicensed operation of mental health facilities or other programs providing services that require certain licensure. 

This also modifies the State Consumer and Family Advisory Committee, which is to be composed of 21 members. All members but either be a consumer of or a family member of consumers of mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, substance use disorder, and traumatic brain injury services.

Under this law, the Department of Health and Human Services will establish or expand upon a database to make a publicly available, searchable list of all facilities and programs that meet include the following information:

  1. The facility or program name
  2. The location, including street and mailing addresses
  3. The contact information for those in charge, owners, or directors
  4. The dates and types of visits conducted by the Division of Health Services Regulation
  5. A description of findings, including whether complaints were substantiated and if violations were substantiated
  6. Any action that may have been taken by the Division of Health Services Regulation

Providing regulatory relief to North Carolina citizens

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Aug. 23, covers a variety of measures all aimed at providing further regulatory relief -- from limits on public employees benefiting from public contracts to the publication of information on NC pre-K school options on the NCDHHS Division of Childhood Development website.

Additionally, the law addresses the Department of Environmental Quality's express permitting programs, and allows distilleries to sell spirituous liquor produced by the distiller directly to consumers in other states based on communication between a local board and the Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Some sections of the law went into effect as soon as the bill was signed into law and in the months since, while others go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Providing various building code and developmental regulatory reforms

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Aug. 30, addresses applications for general contractor licenses, the North Carolina State Building Code, Building setback lines, erosion and sedimentation control, subdivision streets minimum standards and more.

Parts of this law went into effect when it was signed into law, while other parts go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Expedite child safety and permanency planning hearings

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Sept. 1, amends various abuse, neglect and dependency laws. The aim of this is both to ensure the safety of children in out-of-home placements as well as expedite permanency planning hearings for children who have been removed from their homes. 

The law discusses child welfare reform, permanency planning hearings, the implementation of a statewide child protective services (CPS) hotline, providing safe placement for children in need of mental health services, and more. 

Supporting law enforcement mental health

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Sept. 2, is aimed at educating law enforcement officers on maintaining good mental health and providing information on mental health resources.

As part of the law, law enforcement officers will be required to get psychological screenings prior to certification or employment. 

Portions of the law go into effect on Jan. 1, while the remainder went into effect on Sept. 2, 2021.

Criminal justice reform

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Sept. 2, aims to increase protections, training and oversight for state and local law enforcement officers. 

As part of the law, a decertification database will be created, the FBI's Next Generation Identification System And Rap Back Service will be required, certain local ordinances will be decriminalized, the relevant law will be amended to provide immediate disclosure of body-worn camera recording related to death or serious bodily injury and more. Portions of the law go into effect on Jan. 1, while the remainder went into effect on Sept. 2, 2021.

In-service training for magistrates

 This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Sept. 10, ensures that all magistrates receive the necessary education to perform the duty of a magistrate. This includes annual in-service training. 

Clarifying motor vehicle franchise laws

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Sept. 10, aims to clarify the laws governing new motor vehicle dealer franchises. Parts of the law went into effect when it was signed on Sept. 10, 2021. A portion of the law related to dealer manufacturer partnership for online sales goes into effect on Jan. 1.

ABC legislation changes

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Sept. 10, makes various changes to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission Laws. Some of the changes include:

  • Letting an ABC store sell online and ship through a process that verifies the age of the recipient
  • Allowing wineries and distillers to sell packaged products at certain times on holidays including New Year's Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving as long as they don't fall on Sunday.
  • A two-drink allowance at a college sports event
  • The establishment of so-called "social districts"

RELATED: New 'social district' approved in downtown Kannapolis

Allowing the State Health Plan for teachers, state employees to adopt a program combatting fraud

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Sept. 16, will allow the North Carolina State Health Plan for teachers and state employees to adopt a program to incentivize plan members to report activities such as fraud, waste and abuse by health care providers providing services to plan members.

Portions of the law went into effect when the bill was signed into law in September, while other portions go into effect on Jan. 1.

Amending the Consumer Finance Act and Retail Installment Sales Act

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Sept. 20, amends the Consumer Finance Act to allow the recovery of electronic transaction fees imposed by third parties, and amends the Retail Installment Sales Act to clarify the definition of "official fees." 

Parts of this law went into effect in October, while other parts go into effect on Jan. 1.

Changes made to statutes governing guaranteed asset protection waivers 

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Oct. 28, makes changes to the statutes governing guaranteed asset protection waivers as well as creates an article governing vehicle value protection agreements. 

Technical changes to insurance

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Nov. 10, revises the verification obligations of an insurer and its agent, with respect to rate evasion fraud. It also recodifies certificate of insurance provisions and establishes a civil penalty for fraudulent preparation, issuance, requesting, or requirement of a certificate of insurance. 

Various building code amendments

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Nov. 23, works to prevent delays in the issuance of temporary certificates of occupancy. Additionally, it clarifies electric wiring requirement references and modifies one- or two-family dwelling requirements for residential development fire apparatus access roads. 

Parts of this law went into effect in November, while other parts go into effect on Jan. 1.

Enhancing local government transparency

This law, signed by Gov. Cooper on Dec. 9, works to enhance the independence of the annual audit of local government units, previously the subject of state audits. This law specifically discusses the compensation of board of commissioners, withholding compensation, local public officials participating in contracts benefiting nonprofits, and more.

Parts of the bill went into effect in December, while parts go into effect on Jan. 1. 

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