New NC laws on Venus flytraps, BB guns take effect today

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina laws taking effect Monday will add protections for Venus flytraps, let children in eight counties shoot BB guns unsupervised and allow criminal defendants statewide to have their case decided by a judge instead of a jury.

Provisions of nine laws are effective Dec. 1. Some make technical and other minor changes to existing laws. Other legislation stiffens penalties for criminal offenses, including inmates who have cell phones and people caught multiple times carrying concealed handguns without a permit.

A constitutional amendment that allows criminal defendants to waive jury trials was approved by voters earlier this month. Defendants have this option in 49 other states and the federal criminal justice system, but North Carolina defendants previously couldn’t waive the jury trial.

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