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Cooper signs SHALOM Act into law

THERESA OPEKA

Carolina Journal




THERESA OPEKA

Carolina Journal


Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed the SHALOM Act into law Monday.


HB 942, which passed in the House on May 8, amends chapter 12 of the North Carolina General Statues, defining antisemitism as consistent with the working definition adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016.


The definition includes contemporary examples of antisemitism set forth “as a tool and a guide for training, education, recognizing and combatting antisemitic hate crimes or discrimination and for tracking and reporting antisemitic incidents in this State.” 


“Defining antisemitism is important to stopping it, and this new law helps do that as antisemitic incidents are on the rise,” Cooper said in a press release. While we protect the right to free speech, this legislation helps to make our state a more welcoming, inclusive, and safe place for everyone.”


Sen. Bobby Hanig, R-Currituck, first introduced legislation in April 2023 due to a rise in antisemitism that had occurred throughout the state and the country, well before the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.


“Little did I or anyone in this room or anyone in the country realize how important this bill would become on October 7 of 2023,” he said during Wednesday’s Senate State and Local Government Committee meeting.  “I firmly believe that it’s the responsibility of this body and all elected officials to protect all of our citizens from hate and bigotry. The Shalom bill does exactly that. That’s what it’s designed to do, and it in no way infringes on or diminishes anything to do with your rights protected by the North Carolina or the US Constitution.”


Hanig would later add that a trip to Israel that he took in 2019 with Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, changed him forever.


“To truly understand what the Jewish people have been through and what they continue to go through on a daily basis, that’s why I felt the need to introduce this bill to begin with,” he said. “This in no way infringes on any rights. It isn’t against the law to express your opinion about Jewish people or anybody else that’s your your First Amendment right.”


Moore, who introduced HB 942, told the committee that everyone has seen the violence, intimidation, and threats that are happening against Jewish individuals in the state and the country, some of which have become very violent.


He said it also balances the First Amendment right to free expression.


“As of today, over 1,100 separate governments, NGOs, and key institutions have specifically adopted the IHRA definition,” Moore said. “This is a common-sense way to address this. This has been dealt with in a bipartisan way around the nation, and it’s where we have an opportunity to take a stand to make sure that we will not tolerate discrimination and antisemitism threats of violence.”


Cooper signed five additional bills into law on Friday, including a bill making money laundering a felony and adding clarification to larceny crimes.


HB 495, Revise Money Laundering/Retail Crime, would add a felony law to the North Carolina criminal code for money laundering, which involves individuals or organizations knowingly conducting criminal activity with funds over $10,000.

In addition, the bill makes minor changes to the laws surrounding retail crime and expands the definitions to cover novel approaches to defrauding retailers. For example, one advanced retail theft approach involves using fake price codes to obtain an item at less than its actual sale price.



Under current state law, a person is guilty of a felony if they remove or deactivate an anti-shoplifting control device. However, the updated language includes not just the removal of security tags but also shelving, security cameras, and security systems a merchant utilizes to prevent larceny.


According to the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, the bill was developed in coordination with legal experts, including lawyers and law enforcement. The NCRMA notes that theft impacts not just businesses, but also consumers, who bear the financial burden.

“The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association commended the North Carolina General Assembly for unanimously passing House Bill 495 to clarify and modernize North Carolina’s criminal laws addressing organized retail crime, which increases costs for consumers,” said Andy Ellen, NCRMA president and general counsel. 


HB 971, Human Trafficking Changes, was also signed into law. It increases the punishment for soliciting a prostitute, expands, further develops, and implements training on human trafficking to guide county child welfare staff, county social services attorneys, county social services directors, and all social services staff, requires hotels and other lodging establishments to develop human trafficking awareness training, and prohibits the viewing of pornography on government networks and devices.  



Brianna Kraemer contributed to this article.

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