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House passes law on unborn child as victim

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, or “Ethen’s Law,” has passed the North Carolina House and will now go to the Senate.
The bill would treat an unborn child as a victim if someone kills or assaults the mother. It was read and voted on for a third time Thursday, passing 73-36.
N.C. Rep. Fred Steen, R-Rowan, is a primary sponsor of the bill and he spoke on the House floor to support it. “This legislation matches North Carolina law to federal law when it involves the death of an unborn victim,” Steen said. “This bill also provides justice to those unborn children, their mother and to the families who are left to pick up the pieces after the act of violence. This bill recognizes the unborn child as a person.”
In an e-mail to the Post Thursday, he said he is glad for the victims’ families who have been asking for this legislation for many years.
N.C. Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan, is co-sponsoring the legislation.
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This week marked the deadline for state legislators to draft public bills, which must then be filed by April 6 in the House and April 12 in the Senate.
Steen is now a co-sponsor of the “Taxpayer Transparency Act,”which would create a searchable budget database website detailing where, for what purpose and what results are achieved for all taxpayer investments in state government.
The database would include grants, contracts, appropriations or other expenditures of $10,000 or more. It also would include tax exemptions or credits.
Expenditures and funding actions would be listed with the recipient of funds, the amount of funds spent, the spending agency, the funding source, the relevant budget program or activity, a descriptive purpose, expected and past performance outcomes and any related state audit or report.
Warren is listed as a co-sponsor of the bill, as well as another that would set a cap on the motor fuel excise tax rate.
Warren also is co-sponsoring “Chamberlin’s Law,” which would allow charges to be brought against people who “recklessly” harm or neglect animals. State law currently covers acts of animal cruelty performed “maliciously” or “intentionally,” which are harder to prove in court.
Another provision would make it a misdemeanor for a dog owner to fail to provide a dog with adequate shelter. The legislation also would allow judges to order convicted offenders to receive psychiatric or psychological evaluation and to prohibit them from owning animals for a period of time.
The bill, filed this week, is named after a dog who was found severely malnourished from neglect in the backyard of a High Point home.
Warren is a primary sponsor of “Run and You’re Done,” a bill that would provide for the seizure, forfeiture and sale of motor vehicles used by someone charged and convicted of felony speeding to elude arrest.
In addition, he is a primary sponsor of a bill filed last week that would require county and municipal special elections to be held on the date of the respective general elections, except in the case of an emergency.
N.C. Sen. Andrew Brock, Rowan/Davie, is a primary sponsor of two bills filed this week. One would repeal the requirement that a person obtain a permit to receive, sell, purchase or otherwise transfer a crossbow. The other would modernize procurement methods used by the Secretary of Administration and state departments, institutions and agencies.

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