HB 746: Changes to State Laws Regarding Firearms

The state house tentatively approved a bill that would  eliminate the need for concealed-carry permits for adults who are at least 18 and are not otherwise prohibited from owning firearms, except where open-carry is explicitly prohibited. The bill would also allow assistant district attorneys to bring concealed weapons into courtrooms, as well as legislators and their staff to bring them into the legislative building if they have concealed weapon permits. Furthermore, the bill would change the current 45 day time frame between a sheriff receiving mental health records regarding an applicant for a concealed weapons permit and the decision to approve or deny the permit. The new requirement would be within 90 days of receiving the application, regardless of when the sheriff receives the records.  Read the full bill at: http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/House/PDF/H746v3.pdf

FDA Advises That Opioid Painkiller Opana Be Pulled Off Market

In an unprecedented move, the FDA has called for the removal of opioid painkiller Opana from the market. The FDA has never before asked that an opioid pain medication be pulled from the market due to its strong potential for abuse. The mandate is in response to the opioid crisis. Opana is about twice as powerful as the opioid OxyContin, which is also frequently abused.  Learn more at http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/08/health/fda-opioid-opana-er-bn/index.html

Lawmakers Respond to Prison Corruption Investigation

In response to a Charlotte Observer investigation regarding prison corruption, Senate leader Phil Berger has said that he plans to call for a legislative inquiry on prison corruption. Moreover, Governor Roy Cooper has called upon Secretary of Public Safety Erik Hooks to identify ways to address the issues identified in the investigation. The investigation exposed a host of problems. These include officers physically abusing inmates, permitting or encouraging attacks on inmates, having sex with inmates, and running contraband rings inside prisons.  Learn more at http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article155319679.html

DEA Proposal Reminiscent of War on Drugs

The DEA has proposed action that is reminiscent of the unsuccessful “War on Drugs” of the 1980s. This “War on Drugs” involved draconian and discriminatory sentencing for drug offenders. The current proposal is that the DEA hire a separate prosecutor corps of as many as 20 prosecutors to prosecute cases related to drug trafficking, money laundering. The proposal, according to DEA spokesman Rusty Payne, is in response to the opioid crisis. Opponents of the plan, including the Drug Policy Alliance, fear that the plan exceeds the DEA’s authority under federal law and represents movement away from treating drug addiction as a public health crisis.  Learn more at http://www.npr.org/2017/05/04/526784152/dea-seeks-prosecutors-to-fight-opioid-crisis-critics-fear-return-to-war-on-drugs

Former New Mexico Governor Changes Perspective on the Death Penalty

In a recent article printed in the Washington Post, former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson explains why although he carried out the death penalty as Governor, he now opposes it. Some of the reasons he cited include the failure to serve as a deterrent, the number of innocent people freed from death row, waning support for the death penalty, and the cost to administer it. He noted the recent successes of anti-death penalty candidates running for district attorney as a positive sign that pressure to pursue the death penalty in the political sphere is decreasing.  Learn more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/06/13/__trashed-2/?utm_term=.e950e5973201

Four Cumberland County Death Row Inmates Request New Racial Justice Act Hearings

Four Inmates in Cumberland County have asked that the state Supreme Court reconsider the illegal effect of racism in their trials. They had previously used the North Carolina Racial Justice act to do so, but it was repealed in 2013. Some of the arguments in their two petitions include:
  • The Superior Court should have held a hearing to consider whether there was racial bias in one of the inmate’s trials in 2002.
  • The Superior Court unconstitutionally retroactively applied the Racial Justice Act repeal to his one inmate’s case.
  • The courts have not yet decided on the constitutionality of the repeal of the Racial Justice Act
  • The repeal was unconstitutionally intended to punish a specific inmate.