A new year brings new laws: 16 changes impacting North Carolina

by Bethany Torstenson

Raleigh, NC – The dawn of a new year often signifies more than just a change in the calendar; it also means the enactment of new laws and regulations. Here in North Carolina, we have sixteen state laws that are now in full effect.

(photo by kstudio)

The new effective laws include subjects related to education, elections, and local government, among several others.
What’s changing? Let’s break down a few of the notable laws that impact North Carolinians:
High school graduation requirements will now include courses in computer science and the foundational principles of the United States and the State of North Carolina. This mandate will become fully effective starting next academic year.

Starting January 1st, key parts of the elections bill, S.B. 747, were implemented. This includes a regulation that sets Election Day as the final day for absentee ballots and mandates that convicted felons must complete their full sentence, including probation and any financial restitution before their voting rights are reinstated.

Additionally, from this date, election boards can no longer receive private funding for election administration. In an article published by Theresa Opeka of The Carolina Journal, Theresa notes the reason for the change, writing:

“That provision was sparked by the uneven use of seven million dollars in “Zuck Bucks” donations from Mark Zuckerberg’s Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) in 2020. During that election the private money primarily went to Democrat-leaning precincts in North Carolina to fund get-out-the-vote efforts.”

It’s important to note that last year, Governor Cooper vetoed this bill, drawing national attention mainly due to his claims of racial bias in the legislation.
However, despite Governor Cooper’s veto, the legislature successfully overturned it, which is now law.
Driver’s License Modifications:
Mainly impacting teen drivers, the new law extends the learner’s permit period to nine months for drivers aged sixteen to eighteen and revises passenger rules for those driving with a learner’s permit.
Click here for a complete list of all sixteen laws effective as of January 1st in North Carolina.