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2023 Session Summary – Two Weeks In…

Outside of North Carolina Legislature Building where General Assembly meets

The North Carolina General Assembly is finishing its second week of the 2023 Legislative Session, and it has been a relatively busy start to the session. The following is a select listing of key bills that have been introduced and/or acted on thus far.

SB 49 – Parents’ Bill of Rights

SB 49—Parents’ Bill of Rights passed the State Senate and has been sent to the House for consideration. This bill would help to affirm, strengthen, and protect the rights of parents in North Carolina to take an active role in their child’s education and health care and also provide a greater level of transparency in these areas. The bill, sponsored by Senators Amy Galey (R-Alamance), Michael Lee (R- New Hanover), and Lisa Barnes (R-Franklin), passed the Senate on a 29-18 party-line vote, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats voting against.

NC Family testified in favor of SB 49 in both the Senate Education/Higher Education and Health Care committees last week. “For many decades state courts, federal courts, and this General Assembly have recognized that parents have a fundamental right to the care, custody, and control of their children,” said NC Family President John Rustin. “As Senate Bill 49 clarifies, this fundamental right does not end when a child enters a school building or a health care facility. In fact, one of the greatest predictors of a child’s wellbeing and success is parental involvement, and this bill seeks to restore transparency and a sense of partnership and cooperation between parents and their children’s school and health care providers.”

LGBTQ activists and others opposed the bill, because it would prohibit instruction on “gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality” in kindergarten through fourth grade. They also spoke against a provision that would require teachers to inform parents if their child has requested to be called by a different name or referred to by different pronouns at school.

SB 49 has been assigned to the House Rules Committee.

SB 20 – Safe Surrender Infants

SB 20—Safe Surrender Infants proposes modifications to North Carolina’s “safe surrender” law, which was originally enacted in 2001. The intent of this law is to protect the life of newborn infants whose parent(s) may be overwhelmed by their circumstances and harm or abandon the child. The law allows the parent of an infant child up to seven days old to legally and confidentially abandon the child with a responsible party and walk away without penalty. SB 20 would make a variety of changes to the state’s safe surrender law, the most significant of which is the removal of a provision that allows an infant to be surrendered to “any adult,” which could currently lead to human trafficking. Instead, the child would have to be surrendered to a health care provider, a first responder, or a social services worker.

SB 20 passed the Senate 44-0 on February 9..

HB 43 – Prohibition of Certain Hormone/Surgery/Minors 

HB 43—Prohibition of Certain Hormone/Surgery/Minors would prohibit the administration of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and the performance of “gender reassignment surgery on minors in North Carolina. A medical professional who violates the law would be subject to license revocation, other forms of professional discipline, and a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per occurrence. This bill has been initially assigned to the House Health Committee.

HB 19 – Codify Roe and Casey Protections

HB 19—Codify Roe and Casey Protections (also SB 12, SB 19), as the title suggests, proposes to place into state statute the “essential holdings” of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had legalized abortion on demand and greatly limited any state restrictions in the United States. Both of these cases were overturned in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last summer. This bill would prohibit the state from imposing “an undue burden on the ability of a woman to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability.” Because fetal viability, or the ability of a child to live independently outside of the womb, is a subjective determination made by the abortionists, the passage of these bills would allow almost unlimited abortion in North Carolina, even late-term abortions. Tragically, every member of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses signed on as sponsors of these bills. Each of these bills have been assigned to the Rules Committees in their respective chambers

SB 3 – NC Compassionate Care Act 

SB 3—NC Compassionate Care Act was one of the first bills to be filed in the State Senate and would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for a wide range of “medical” purposes in North Carolina. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick), Michael Lee(R-New Hanover) and Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) proposes to establish an extensive framework of licensing for manufacturing, distributing, selling, possessing, and using marijuana. SB 3 would allow marijuana to be prescribed for the following “debilitating medical conditions”: cancer; epilepsy; HIV; AIDS; ALS; Crohn’s disease; sickle cell anemia; Parkinson’s disease; PTSD; multiple sclerosis; Cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe or persistent nausea related to end-of-life or hospice care; a terminal illness when the patient’s life expectancy is less than six months; or any other serious medical condition added by the Compassionate Use Advisory Board.

A similar bill passed the Senate last session but was not considered in the House. SB 3 has been initially assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.


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