In addition to bills dealing with COVID relief funding and getting students back into the classroom, North Carolina lawmakers have filed a number of bills of interest during the first full week of the 2021 Legislative Session. Here is a snapshot of several of those bills:
Senate Bill 35 and House Bill 41 — Amend Lawful Age to Marry/18 Years of Age would raise the lawful age of marriage in North Carolina to 18 years or older. Current state law generally allows individuals between the ages of 14 and 16 to marry if the female is pregnant or has given birth to a child, and a judge determines that marriage would serve the best interest of the parties involved. Minors between 16 and 18 can marry with parental consent. According to FindLaw.com, 34 states allow marriage at 16 with parental consent and/or judicial approval; 12 states allow marriage at 17 with parental consent and/or judicial approval; and 4 states prohibit marriage under 18 years of age.
HB 31—Detected Heartbeat/Prohibit Abortion would prohibit abortion in North Carolina after a qualified physician licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina determines that the unborn child has a detectable human heartbeat. HB 31 is the first of many pro-life bills expected this session.
HB 32—Equity in Opportunity Act would make numerous changes to the state’s Opportunity Scholarship Program for lower income families. The bill would make the scholarships more accessible by expanding eligibility to more students, and tying the amount of the scholarship grant to an increasing percentage of the “average State per pupil allocation in the prior fiscal year,” instead of a flat $4,200 per year. The bill also proposes substantial changes and forward funding for the renamed Personal Education Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities Program.
SB 43—Protect Religious Meeting Places would allow an individual with a concealed handgun permit to legally carry a handgun on school property, but only during times when the property was being used as a place of religious worship and not during school operating hours.
Be sure to stay tuned for future updates from NC Family on additional legislation of interest!