The following are legislative updates from the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA), provided by Executive Director Monika Johnston-Hostler and Staff Attorney Joe Polich.
New Laws Passed – Long Session 2015
Women and Children’s Protection Act of 2015 – Session Law 2015- 62
Signed by Governor on June 5, 2015
- Increases wait times and administrative burdens for those seeking and providing abortion services
- Provides for electronic filing of all 50B and 50C proceedings in all counties in North Carolina
- Changes the age definitions for statutory rape crimes in NC from “13, 14, or 15 years old” to “15 years old or younger.”
Joe’s take: Electronic filing is a huge success in pilot counties in North Carolina – including Alamance and Guilford counties. Electronic filing increases access to the civil legal system and streamlines the court proceedings in general. In counties with electronic filing, all parties will leave the hearing with copies of any pertinent orders and those orders will already be filed with the Clerk of Court.
No-Contact Order/No Expiration – Session Law 2015-91
Signed by Governor on June 19, 2015
- Creates Chapter 50D, which provides a non-expiring civil no-contact order for victims of sex offenses that resulted in a criminal conviction
- Violation of a 50D order is an A1 misdemeanor (the most serious misdemeanor charge)
- There are increased penalties for the commission of a felony that violates the order
Joe’s take: the 50D order does not require victims of sexual assault to re-live the experience in open court every year to renew their order. However, the major shortcoming to the new 50D order is that it requires a criminal conviction of the perpetrator, which we know is difficult at best to obtain. On the plus side, these orders “have teeth,” violations carry serious consequences.
Protect Our Students Act – Session Law 2015-44