From the Office of State Rep. Phile Haire
Several new laws went into place on the first of this month. These laws, which you may not be familiar with, cover a variety of interests, from our Alcoholic Beverage Control system to our state contracting rules. In each instance, there was effort to pass commonsense laws that will protect the people of North Carolina or streamline our operations.
_ In the face of several recent problems with our Alcoholic Beverage Control System, the General Assembly approved a law to modernize the system’s operations. The law (H1717) sets standards for enforcement of ABC laws, store appearance, efficiency and customer service. It also requires local boards to adopt ethics policies and create balanced budgets available for public inspection. Employees will no longer be allowed to directly supervise immediate family members and the salaries of general managers for the boards will generally be limited to the salary of the clerk of superior court in their county.
_The state’s contract oversight and procedures were improved with a new law approved this past session. The law (S1213) increases the authority of the Secretary of Administration to oversee the review and awarding of contracts. It also requires the state’s Attorney General to review all contracts for supplies, materials, printing, equipment, and contractual services that exceed $1 million. The law prohibits the use of so-called “cost plus” contracts, where the vendor receives a fee based on the cost of the contract.
_ Insurance brokers and bail bondsmen, along with principals in finance companies and collection agencies now have explicit directions to report criminal or administrative actions against them or their companies to state regulators, usually within 10 days. The law (H1166) also requires those seeking insurance producer licenses in North Carolina to submit fingerprints to be used for criminal background checks.
_ North Carolina law will now provide additional protections to people working with cemetery companies. The new law (S18) requires that new potential owners of cemetery companies provide evidence that they have sufficient financial means before they are allowed to take ownership of the company. The law also requires the cemeteries to list the cost of opening and closing a grave as part of the contract and forbids them from requiring people who buy grave sites to buy vaults from a particular seller.
_ Homeowners in North Carolina will now be protected from scammers who trick them into selling their homes for less than half of their values to avoid foreclosure. The new law (S1015) also requires that lease option contracts and contract for deed transactions now be in writing to provide additional protections.
The SHIP Program (The NC Senior Health Insurance Information Program) offers free advice for Medicare Beneficiaries. The SHIP Program is designed to help seniors and people with disabilities understand their health care coverage options. SHIP counselors are trained to provide beneficiaries with objective, easy-to-understand information about Medicare, Medicare supplemental insurance, Medicaid, long-term care insurance, and prescription drug coverage. All services are free, and all information is kept confidential.
SHIP Toll Free # 1-800-443-9354
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Rep. Haire and Legislative Assistant, Sara Jane Lennard,
may be reached at
300 N. Salisbury St., Room 639, LOB
Raleigh, NC 27603, 919/715-3005, firstname.lastname@example.org