N.C. House passes anti-rioting bill with veto-proof majority | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is David Bass.

    An anti-rioting bill quickly won approval in the North Carolina House on Feb. 8 after six Democrats threw their support behind the measure.

    House Bill 40, Prevent Rioting and Civil Disorder, passed with a veto-proof 75-43 majority. The bill would establish a new level of felony penalties for rioters who cause property damage or serious bodily injury or death to others, including physical violence to first responders.

    Joining Republicans in supporting H.B. 40 were Democratic Reps. Cecil Brockman of Guilford County, Laura Budd of Mecklenburg County, Abe Jones of Wake County, Garland Pierce of Scotland County, Michael Wray of Northampton County, and Shelly Willingham of Edgecombe County.

    Before passing the full House, lawmakers adopted several amendments to tone down the penalties or wording of the bill, including one that raised the threshold amount for property damage to face a felony charge from $1,500 to $2,500.

    Supporters say H.B. 40 is necessary to discourage the types of property damage seen across North Carolina during protests following the death of Georgia Floyd in 2020. Many of the protests turned into riots, resulting in millions of dollars in property damage.

    "This bill is designed to punish those who are either inciting or actively engaged in criminal conduct, not the person who showed up to protest, as their right would allow," said House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland.

    Rep. Ken Fontenot, R-Nash, said that he witnessed firsthand the devastation to local businesses in Wilson from riots in 2020.

    "What I appreciate about this bill is that it protects low-income, African-Americans," he said. "When you look across the nation at where these riots took place - Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis - black neighborhoods were the neighborhoods that were hurt. African-Americans are the one who foot the bill, not lawyers."

    Rep. Charles Miller, R-Brunswick, shared his own experience as a chief deputy in the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office. He said that police worked to protect peaceful protesters from "the agitators," who threw rocks, chunks of brick, and frozen water bottles at them.

    "Just to make a point, I think we arrested six people and maybe one of them was African-American. A majority of the crowd was white," Miller said. "This is not about taking away peaceful protest. It's about protecting the property and protecting the law enforcement officers and first responders."

    Opponents argue the measure is racist and would quell free speech.

    "God knows we don't want another riot, but we do want people to feel comfortable to protest, to assemble," said Rep. Marcia Morey, D-Durham. "I think this has a chilling effect on those constitutional rights."

    "We all know this is an anti-Black Lives Matter bill," said Melissa Price Kromm, executive director of N.C. Voters for Clean Elections, when the bill was before the House Judiciary Committee earlier in the day. "This overly broad, still problematic bill is not about protecting peace. It's about silencing dissent."

    Both chambers of the General Assembly passed a bill similar to H.B. 40 in the 2021 long session - the Senate by a 25-19 vote and the House with a 63-41 vote. Two House Democrats joined Republicans to support the measure, while every Senate Democrat voted no.

    Later, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill, saying, "People who commit crimes during riots and at other times should be prosecuted and our laws provide for that, but this legislation is unnecessary and is intended to intimidate and deter people from exercising their constitutional rights to peacefully protest."

    H.B. 40 now goes to the Senate.
Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )

Controller, legislative leaders ask NC Supreme Court to block Leandro money transfer Carolina Journal, News Services, Editorials, Government, Op-Ed & Politics, State and Federal Bill to raise judicial retirement age would allow Newby to serve full term


Latest State and Federal

President Joe Biden patted himself on the back Monday morning as multiple banks have collapsed in recent days, claiming that the “quick action” of his administration has stabilized the banking industry.
Rates of violent crime and other behavioral problems spiked in recent months as students returned to North Carolina public school classrooms after government-forced closures and remote learning schedules.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that there would be no bailout for the collapsed Silicon Valley Bank.
NBC News host Chuck Todd complained over the weekend that Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law “Victims of Communism Day” which teaches students in the state the far-left ideology’s murderous history.
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an order asking for more information in the Moore v. Harper redistricting case. Justices want to know how a rehearing in a related N.C. Supreme Court case this month affects the legal landscape.
Federal regulators announced over the weekend that they will fully back all depositors of Silicon Valley Bank, guaranteeing that they are paid back in full after the bank collapsed last week.


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) said that communist China is using TikTok to make its way into U.S. data systems as calls grow for the federal government to ban the app.
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) brought up left-wing riots during an interview over the weekend when asked about the recent media coverage surrounding the January 6 riot following the release of thousands of hours of video footage from the incident.
General Assembly leaders agreed to a bottom-line budget number last week, kicking off the biennium budget season. Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) announced that General Fund spending would increase by 6.5% in the first year
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, over the weekend for making statements about the origins of COVID that are not supported by the findings of the U.S. intelligence
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) said during an interview on Sunday that when he approached President Joe Biden about using the U.S. military to take out Mexican drug cartels, the president rebuffed him and said that it was a “bad idea.”
In a press conference Thursday, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore announced that an agreement has been reached between the chambers to expand the federal Medicaid entitlement program in North Carolina.


The U.S. Navy announced this week that it would be renaming a ship named for oceanographic pioneer Matthew Fontaine Maury because of Maury’s ties to the Confederacy during the later years of his life.


Back to Top