With the new year comes new laws for NC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – As the odometer rolled over to the new year, North Carolina is facing a host of new laws.

Many will undoubtedly affect most people across the state. One Senate bill will make changes to North Carolina’s voting system. This was originally shot down by Gov. Roy Cooper but given new life by the General Assembly.

The new law now says applicant voters will be ineligible to cast a ballot if one notice is returned as undeliverable. Before, prospective voters had two chances to return the required paperwork before being denied.

Also starting Jan. 1, according to Senate Bill 409, a new pilot program between the State Department of Transportation and the SBI will expand what electronic license plate readers law enforcement uses can do.

The information collected can now help locate stolen cars, help identify missing persons and find people with outstanding warrants. But they can’t be used for traffic enforcement.

Thinking about buying an electric vehicle? Get ready to fork over more cash because registration fees are headed up. People will pay an extra $40, which will be going into the state’s highway fund. It doesn’t stop there. Fees are expected to go up again in the summer of next year by over 19% to $214 each and every year.

Teen drivers might not get their driver’s license as fast as they thought they could. Under SB 157, they’ll have to hold their permit for nine months instead of the current six months before moving on to a limited provisional license.

Finally, there are new age verifications on websites offering explicit adult content. The Pornography Age Verification Enforcement Act, or the PAVE, will make changes that in theory will limit access to graphic sexually explicit sites for underage children by requiring proof the user is over the age of 18.

It’s a decision not everyone is happy with. One of the biggest websites for adult content put out on their landing page they decided to disable access to users in North Carolina. But the system isn’t foolproof.

“The internet doesn’t know if you’re a dog. The internet doesn’t even know if you’re a human anymore.”

Theresa Payton is an online security expert and says that just because there’s a law on the books doesn’t mean there’s no cause for worry.

“Age verification is a step in the right direction when it comes to internet services and really trying to understand are we dealing with someone who is of legal age based on state and federal regulations. ” Payton said.

According to Payton, no verification system is perfect. There are always workarounds for kids to access material like this including using VPNs. She says it’s really up to the household to monitor and set standards on what’s appropriate.