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Doctors Who Provide Abortions Will Be Required To Share Ultrasound Documentation

Photo: North Carolina license plates
Flickr User Eugena Ossi
The Department of Motor Vehicles will raise fees as part of several new laws going into effect Jan. 1

Almost two dozen laws will go into effect on Jan. 1, impacting issues including health, transportation and firearm ownership in North Carolina. Here are the effects of some of the new laws:

Doctors Will Share Some Pre-Abortion Ultrasounds With State Health Officials

Physicians performing abortions after the 16th week of pregnancy will be required to send state health officials ultrasound images of the fetus and other data from the procedure. For pregnancies terminated after the 20th week, must give the Department of Health and Human Services an explanation of how continuing the pregnancy would have threatened the life of the mother. Anti-abortion activists say the new requirement will help prevent any illegal abortions. Abortion advocates are asking the governor to block the law. They say it is medically unnecessary and violates women’s privacy.

DMV Will Raise Fees   

The North Carolina Department of Transportation will increase fees for drivers’ licenses and car and truck registrations by up to 30 percent. The department will increase vehicle registration to $36 from $28, and driver’s licenses to $40 from $32. State lawmakers approved the increase in September as part of a plan to generate as much as $77 million more funding per year for the transportation department. It is the first DMV fee increase since 2005.

Gas Tax

The tax on gasoline will drop by a penny per-gallon to $.35.

Parents Can Freeze Children’s Credit Report

Parents will be able to freeze their children’s credit reports to prevent identity thieves from opening unauthorized lines of credit in the child’s name. The law allows parents to freeze or thaw the credit of children younger than 16, paying each credit agency of up to $5 for the transaction. People can already freeze their own credits online, but credit agencies had previously said they could not freeze the credit of minors who had not yet established any credit, according to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

The Attorney General lists the forms needed for security freezes.

Medical Examiners Required To Study Epilepsy-Related Deaths

State medical examiners will be required to take training on sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, which is a rare condition in which some people with epilepsy die without a clear cause. The law requires medical examiners to identify deaths attributable to sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. State legislators named the bill after William Lindley, a 30-year-old instructor and researcher at Appalachian State University who died at his home in Boone a few months after being diagnosed with epilepsy. One in 1,000 people who suffer from epilepsy die from SUDEP every year, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

More Records Will Be Reported For System To Check Gun Buyers

State courts will be required to collect and report new details to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, including whether a person is involuntary commitment to an inpatient or outpatient mental health facility, determination of substance abuse or determination of mental illness.

State legislators created the new requirements as part of a law that limits the information sheriffs can draw from to issue pistol purchase permits. The law also allows district attorneys, administrative law judges and some public safety employees to carry concealed weapons in a court room. It allows people to have handguns within a locked vehicle on educational property, and to use the firearm in response to a life threatening situation.

Jorge Valencia has been with North Carolina Public Radio since 2012. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Jorge studied journalism at the University of Maryland and reported for four years for the Roanoke Times in Virginia before joining the station. His reporting has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Baltimore Sun.
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