• NC House GOP

NC House Puts Strong Focus on Supporting Law Enforcement, Firefighters and First Responders

Updated: May 19, 2021

The Republican-led North Carolina House is committed to supporting those who serve and protect our communities. From firefighters and paramedics to law enforcement and correctional officers, we want to make sure these brave men and women have the resources and support they need.

This legislative session, the House has already taken action on several important bills to do just that, including legislation to provide more mental health resources for law enforcement, increase penalties for assaulting officers and expanding benefits for those who serve and their families.

Here is a full breakdown of the bills approved so far this session:

✓ Support Law Enforcement Mental Health (House Bill 436)

House Bill 436 expands access to mental health resources for law enforcement officers, as well as require mental health and wellness training and psychological screening examinations as part of qualification and in-service training.

✓ PTSD Workers Compensation for First Responders (House Bill 492)

House Bill 492 entitles first responders to workers' compensation benefits for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in certain situations regardless of whether the injuries are accompanied by physical injuries. A first responder would be defined as a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, a 911 dispatcher, or an emergency medical technician or paramedic employed by State or local government.

✓ Increase Penalties for Breaking Into Police Vehicles (House Bill 761)

House Bill 761 increases the penalty for committing larceny from a law enforcement vehicle when that person knows, or reasonably should know, that the vehicle was a law enforcement vehicle, and the property was law enforcement equipment.

✓ Free Classes for UNC System Campus Police (Senate Bill 390)

Senate Bill 390 allows full-time and part-time campus law enforcement officers to enroll in courses at UNC System schools without paying tuition and fees.

✓ New Penalty to Threaten Law Enforcement Officers (House Bill 418)

House Bill 418 would create new offenses for knowingly and willfully threatening to inflict serious bodily injury or kill an officer because of the exercise of the officer's duties. Officer would be defined as any law enforcement officer, probation officer, parole officer, or person who is employed at a detention facility operated under the jurisdiction of the state or a local government.

✓ Increase Punishment for Attacks on Correctional Officers in Prisons (House Bill 560)

House Bill 560 creates new mandatory minimums for prisoners exposing themselves to correctional officers or possessing a weapon or a tool to escape or aid in an assault or insurrection.

✓ Protect Those Who Serve and Protect Act (House Bill 36)

House Bill 36 increases the punishment for discharging or attempting to discharge a firearm at or into an unoccupied emergency vehicle. It also Increases the punishment for pointing a laser device at a law enforcement officer or other emergency personnel when the person or animal is in performance of his or her duties.

✓ Improve Policing and Accountability in Law Enforcement (House Bill 536, 547, 548)

House Bill 536 creates an affirmative duty on the part of North Carolina law enforcement to intervene and report instances of excessive force used by other police officers. House Bill 547 allows law enforcement standards commissions to use the National Decertification Index to crack down on officers hoping to hide past misconduct at other agencies. House Bill 548 requires officers who lie under oath to be reported to the standards commission, so the incident is documented if the officer ever moves to another department or agency.

✓ Ban Toxic Firefighting Foam (House Bill 355)

House Bill 355 prohibits certain firefighting foams that contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer for training, practice, or testing purposes and require nonfluorinated or other non-fluorinated substitute training foams to be used instead.

✓ Protect First Responders Health Care (House Bill 694)

House Bill 694 requires first responders to have a health care power of attorney. This will enable someone else to make health care decisions in case of emergencies when these individuals are not able to make those decisions themselves.

✓ Increase Penalties for Rioting (House Bill 805)

House Bill 805 seeks to deter future civil unrest through multiple avenues. The legislation would significantly increase penalties for inciting a riot that leads to death, engaging in riots, and engaging in riots that lead to the physical injury of a first responder. Individuals whose person or property are damaged in a riot would be able to recover treble damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.

✓ Allow Fire Trucks to Use Flashing Blue Lights When Stopped (House Bill 448)

House Bill 448 authorizes the use of blue lights on the rear of publicly owned fire trucks when the parking brake is engaged, and the vehicle's on-scene lights are engaged. The legislation is aimed at cutting down on drunk or distracted drivers crashing into stopped fire trucks.

✓ Line of Duty Death Benefits for 911 Operators (House Bill 741)

House Bill 741 allows 911 operators who died as a result of a heart attack or stroke during the course of employment to receive death benefits.

✓ Allow Emergency Aid to Injured Police K-9s (House Bill 648)

House Bill 648 would create an exemption in the practice of veterinary medicine for emergency medical services personnel who render emergency aid to an injured K-9 police unit animal or search and rescue dog at the scene of an emergency and would grant limited immunity in these circumstances.

✓ The Sergeant Mickey Hutchens Act (House Bill 417)

House Bill 417 creates a process for law enforcement officers, probation and parole officers, and correctional officers who have an advanced law enforcement or corrections certificate to purchase up to four years of service in the state retirement system. The bill is named for Sgt. Mickey Hutchens, a police officer who died in the line of duty in Winston-Salem in 2009.

✓ Destruction of Seized Firearms Used to Assault an Officer (House Bill 234)

House Bill 234 requires the destruction of seized firearms used in committing an assault against a law enforcement officer or any other offense that resulted in serious bodily injury or death to the victim if the firearm belongs to the defendant.

✓ Encourage Re-Employment of Retired Officers (House Bill 647)

House Bill 647 allows certain retired law enforcement officers to be re-employed without suspension of their Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System (LGERS) retirement allowance. The members must be re-employed either as a school resource officer as an elected sheriff to avoid the suspension of retirement allowance.

✓ Police Vehicle and Equipment Protection Act (House Bill 761)

House Bill 761 increases criminal penalties for persons guilty of breaking or entering into a law enforcement vehicle, or who commit larceny of law enforcement equipment.

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