North Carolina Legislative Year in Review: changes to elections for appellate courts; guns in courtrooms

Law

HB 97 Requires reports to legislature of judges who waive criminal fees. Authorizes courts to create special sessions for “specialized cases or matters…including the holding of family court, drug treatment court, veterans’ court, DWI court, mental health court, or any other innovative use of a session of court.” Requires AOC provide directions. Moves Innocence Inquiry Commission under AOC and directs AOC audit annually. Directs creation of E-Courts Information Technology initiative/plan/advisory committee. Allows for use of tech funds to pay for data connectivity. Specifies “neither the Director nor the Administrative Office of the Courts is the custodian of the records of the clerks of superior court or of the electronic data processing records or any compilation of electronic court records or data of the clerks of superior court.”

HB 222 For Supreme Court, requires justices be re-elected by yes/no retention elections. Maintains nonpartisan elections for initial terms.

HB 562 Allows prosecutors to carry firearms into courtrooms.

SB 83 Allows clerks to refuse to accept false liens filed against judges or other public officers and public employees.

SB 161 Allows Supreme Court to sit in its old summer-session chambers in Morganton twice a year.

Pending before Governor

HB 8 For Court of Appeals, permits candidates to place partisan labels next to their names.