Legislative Update

Dylan LightfootStaff

March 3, 2013

This week, the General Assembly considers legislation providing for the carrying of firearms in schools, and works on bill which would revoke the drivers license of any motorist convicted of passing a stopped school bus.

Senate Bill 27: “Public School Protection/Firearms Amendment”

“An act to provide that certain persons certified by the (N.C.) Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and designated by a local board of education or board of directors of a charter school may possess and carry firearms on educational property to provide additional protection to those attending and working in public schools.”

  • Filed in the Senate Jan. 31, currently in Rules and Operations Committee
  • Establishes “School Safety Marshal” guidelines

The bill reads “Local boards of education may designate qualified persons to serve as school safety marshals and may adopt policies regarding (their duties)…establish application procedures…and adopt policies (for determining) which applicants to recommend…as potential marshals.”

Boards of directors of charter school are also empowered to appoint safety marshals. All safety marshals must be certified under Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards under G.S. 17C-6(17).

Sections of the bill authorizing the appointment of safety marshals are effective Aug. 1, 2013.

House Bill 187: “Private School/Handgun on School Property”

“An act to provide that…any private school funded exclusively with private funds and located in Forsyth County may adopt a school policy to allow a school employee…to possess and carry a handgun on (school property).”

  • Filed in the House Feb. 28

The bill allows the executive heads of private schools to arm school employees, provided the weapons are handguns, and the employees have concealed carry permits. It provides that “The executive head…may also establish additional criteria…before an employee can possess and carry a handgun…”

The act applies only to Forsyth County, and is effective Dec. 1, 2013.

Senate Bill 16: “Revoke License for Passing Stopped School Bus”

“An act to provide that the Division of Motor Vehicles shall revoke a person’s drivers license for passing a stopped school bus in violation of G.S. 20-217.”

  • Passed reading in Senate, currently in House Transportation Committee
  • Provides structured sentencing and limits plea bargaining for repeat offenders

Upon first conviction, “the revocation period shall be 30 days.” Second-offenders lose their license for 90 days.

Second-offenders “shall not be eligible to enter a plea of guilty or no contest to a lesser included offense, or to substitute a charge that carries a lesser punishment.

Those convicted under the law can petition the sentencing court for “limited driving privilege” provided their license has not also been revoked for some other reason.

This act is effective Dec. 1, 2013.