Cooper signs bills addressing drug dealers, missing persons

Updated: Jul. 8, 2019 at 7:43 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Legislation designed to give North Carolina prosecutors a new tool to convict drug dealers is now law.

The bill is among a dozen that Gov. Roy Cooper said on Monday he’s signed into law.

One bill makes it a felony to illegally sell drugs that result in an overdose death, punishable by up to 40 years in prison. Supporters say the “death by distribution” law will help fight the opioid epidemic, but critics say it will deter people from calling 911 during an overdose.

The bill goes into effect on Dec. 1.

Cooper also signed House Bill 747 into law. It requires law enforcement agencies to enter a missing person’s information into a national database if no one has found them after 30 days.

The bill, which goes into effect Oct. 1, also includes missing children or unidentified people.

Another bill aimed at protecting law enforcement officers is one step away from passing the General Assembly.

That next vote could come this week for Conner’s Law, a bill named for Trooper Kevin Conner, who was shot and killed while on the job in Columbus County last year. It would increase penalties for people who assault officers with a gun and doubles the death benefit for families of murdered officers.

The bill got pulled from the Senate agenda on Monday but Representative Brenden Jones, the main sponsor of the bill, expects it to be heard this week.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WECT contributed to this report.)