Lawmakers okay bills on gun permits, motorcycle helmets, executi - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Lawmakers okay bills on gun permits, motorcycle helmets, executions

RALEIGH, NC (WECT/AP) – A bill to resume executions in North Carolina passed a Senate committee on Tuesday, and will go in front of the full body for debate.

Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-New Hanover) is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 306, which also eliminates the Racial Justice Act approved in 2009. The RJA outlined a process to allow death row prisoners to receive life sentences if a judge finds racial bias played a role in either their conviction or sentence of death.

The Senate judiciary committee voted along party lines Tuesday to recommend to the Senate the measure that its sponsor says will ensure that justice is carried out on those convicted of heinous murders.

No one on North Carolina's death row has been executed since 2006 because of various legal appeals.

A House committee also approved a bill to limit to limit the state's motorcycle helmet requirement to just those people under age 21. Rep. Kenneth Waddell (D-Columbus) is one of the sponsors of the bill.

The House transportation panel agreed Tuesday to give adults the option to ride without a helmet if they have had a motorcycle license for a year, completed a safety course and have insurance covering $10,000 in medical benefits.

Violators would face a small fine.

Bill sponsor Rep. John Torbett of Gaston County says he's a motorcyclist who considers helmets a freedom of choice issue. Torbett said data suggests that wearing helmets does not result in improved safety.

The bill now goes to another House committee.

The full House voted 98-19 to approve HB 17, which keeps information on concealed carry handgun permits from being public record. That bill now goes to the Senate for debate.

Copyright 2013 WECT. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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