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NC panel OKs bill that would treat topless women as indecent

NC panel OKs bill that would treat topless women as indecent

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina legislation making clear it’s illegal for women to go topless in public places is heading to the House floor.

The measure approved by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday was a response to topless rallies held the past two years in downtown Asheville. City leaders said they couldn’t pass an ordinance against the activity because the state’s indecent exposure law was ambiguous.

The bill adds language from a 1998 state Supreme Court ruling in which “private parts” include the female breast. Breaking the indecent exposure law remains a lower-grade misdemeanor. It’s a felony if done for satisfying sexual desires.

Breastfeeding women would continue to be exempt and local governments still can regulate sexually oriented businesses.

A vote by the entire state House could come next week.

Man arrested in shooting death of motorcyclist

FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — Police in Fayetteville say a man has been arrested in the shooting death of a motorcyclist, while investigators say another assault on a biker around the same time was unrelated.

Authorities say 24-year-old Francisco Echeverria was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of Craig Morris. Police say Morris was shot to death early Tuesday morning after the two got into an argument in the parking lot of shopping center.

In the second assault, 30-year-old Matthew John Key said he was riding his motorcycle when he got into an argument with two people in a car. They went into a parking, then rode off. Key said someone in the car shot at him several times. The car also hit Key’s motorcycle, causing him to wreck.

Medical marijuana bill defeated by House panel

RALEIGH (AP) — A bill that would legalize medical marijuana possession and use in North Carolina has been rejected by a legislative committee.

The House Rules Committee voted Wednesday to give an unusual “unfavorable report” to the measure after brief debate and public comment. The decision means this bill and the issue are likely dead at the General Assembly through 2014.

The bill would have provided immunity from state prosecution for patients with debilitating conditions and caregivers for having the drug. Certain medical marijuana sales would have been taxed.

Catherine Lyles of Raleigh is a brain tumor survivor who spoke to the committee. She said later that using marijuana had relieved her nausea from other drugs she had received to fight her illness.

Woman accused of punching trooper in face

ASHEVILLE (AP) — A woman is in jail after police say she punched a N.C. Highway Patrol trooper in the face during a traffic stop.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that warrants at the Buncombe County magistrate’s office show 30-year-old Tiffany Dawn Pittman is charged with assault on a government employee.

Pittman is also charged with resisting public officers, driving while impaired, driving with a revoked license and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Authorities say the incident occurred around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on Interstate 240.

Penalties for making meth getting tougher

RALEIGH (AP) — Tougher penalties for people who make highly addictive methamphetamine using an ingredient found in some cold medicines are sailing through the General Assembly.

The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for a bill making it a felony for someone to possess a product with pseudoephedrine if the person has been convicted previously of making meth. The bill now heading to the Senate also would increase sentences by up to four years for people convicted of manufacturing the drug where a child or disabled or elder adult live.

Bill supporters include Attorney General Roy Cooper, who says it would strengthen law enforcement efforts to fight meth labs, which often are found in homes. He says a simpler method to make the drug contributed to a record 460 lab busts in North Carolina last year.


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