Several new laws affecting North Carolina business owners take effect today:
-- In an effort to foster a competitive marketplace in the construction industry, HB 110 prohibits the state from requiring private contractors to enter into union labor agreements in order to perform work on public construction projects. Non-union contractors in North Carolina (and elsewhere) have long opposed rules that forced them to pay union wages and benefits in order to win governmental construction contracts.
-- Restaurant and bar owners should be aware that if they don’t post a notice saying otherwise, patrons who have concealed handgun permits will be able to bring their concealed handguns into any restaurant or bar where alcohol is served. Also, those permit holders now will be allowed to keep handguns in a locked vehicle on the property of a public college, university, or community college.
-- In response to the rising tide of lawsuits seeking to hold the food industry accountable for obesity and related health conditions, the new Commonsense Consumption Act gives companies that pack, sell, distribute, or advertise food products a layer of protection from civil liability. Specifically, the law prohibits claims that the product caused obesity or any health condition associated with weight gain as long as companies comply with the applicable regulations governing food labeling and distribution. The bill also prohibits local governments from regulating the size of soft drinks that can be sold.
-- Under HB 243, owners of self-storage facilities with liens on personal property must now mail or e-mail the applicant a notice that they intend to sell the property, as well as publish the notice via reasonable commercial means. Also, the subsequent sale must be conducted through an online auction website that is accessible to the public. Finally, the bill requires owners to increase the minimum late fees for storage unit rental agreements.