Bills Filed In North Carolina

Last week, during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, North Carolina filed victims’ rights legislation in the General Assembly to strengthen the rights of victims in North Carolina. The legislation, also known as Marsy’s Law, seeks to amend the state constitution to provide an equal level of constitutional protections to North Carolina crime victims that are already given to the accused and convicted.

The House Bill 551, sponsored by Reps. Nelson Dollar, Rena Turner, Destin Hall, and Beverly Earle have quickly reached 77 sponsors and cosponsors, exceeding the level of support needed to qualify for a statewide constitutional amendment. This bipartisan cosponsorship signals a strong backing among the state’s elected representatives from every corner of the state.

A companion bill was filed on Tuesday in the Senate, Senate Bill 595, sponsored by Senators Tamara Barringer, Brent Jackson, and Warren Daniel.

The momentum of this important legislation was of particular relevance last week as North Carolina joined the nation to recognize friends, family, and neighbors who have suffered at the hands of crime. Nobody asks to be a victim – it’s not a role chosen. And yet, each year hundreds and thousands of innocent people are victimized in North Carolina alone. Each victim with his or her own story, each either trying to deal with the aftermath of the horrific event or in some cases, leaving behind family members who must carry that burden.

What better week to honor those in our society who have been victimized by crime with this important legislation in NC. 

If our North Carolina legislators agree, and it looks like they are on that course, it will be sent to voters as early as next year to determine if North Carolina will elevate victims to equal status in the eyes of the justice system. This is an important step to ensure that victims are given their much-deserved voice in the process.