The Senate passed a bill this week that restores driving privileges to some individuals whose licenses were revoked due to DWI charges. 

All 46 senators present voted in favor of House Bill 250, which allows someone who has a second driving while impaired offense to get a limited driving privilege as long as their vehicle has an interlock installed. 

“Currently, someone with that second offense of a driving while impaired is not able to have that interlock installed on their vehicle, is not able to have a limited driving privilege,” said Sen. Danny Britt, R-Robeson. “What we find is most of those folks are driving anyway, especially in the more rural counties.”

A judge would be able to grant limited driving privileges to an eligible person whose driver’s license was revoked. The individual would be able to drive for certain essential purposes, including employment, education, and medical care. 

Mothers Against Drunk Driving worked with legislators in developing the bill and supported the interlock provisions. An ignition interlock system is an in-car alcohol monitoring system that measures the user’s blood alcohol level.

SEE ALSO: Law could restore limited driving privileges for certain DWI offenders

In addition to DWI driving changes, the bill also adds changes to county medical examiners’ offices. It clarifies what happens with a body when it’s at the medical examiner’s office and provides the district attorney’s office 72 hours to notify the medical examiner’s office if they intend to do an autopsy. 

Substance regulation

House Bill 250 also creates an offense of death by distribution for the substance xylazine. The General Assembly has been working to regulate several substances this week, including hemp-derived consumables and tianeptine, which the House unanimously classified as a Schedule II controlled substance on Wednesday afternoon.

“You’ve probably heard of this substance. It’s been all over the news in the last year,” said Rep. Stephen Ross, R-Alamance. “It’s called gas station heroin. It’s a bad substance. It needs to come off the shelves. It’s devastating families all across North Carolina, and this bill simply adds this to the controlled substance list.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would regulate the sale and distribution of hemp-derived consumable products and kratom products. It would also require a license to sell, distribute, or manufacture hemp-derived consumable products and
kratom products.

One member of the public applauded the move but warned that overtaxing the products would lead to the illicit market, causing the tax-generating revenue to evaporate. Another man applauded the move with his background in the THC beverage market.

“I’m not a lawyer or a lobbyist, just a guy who happened to discover that you could drink THC instead of alcohol,” said Riley Thomas Dunn, a business owner in Raleigh. “We have been asking for regulation in this space for a really long time because when we do this thing right, it is going to be a huge industry for North Carolina.”