Nine North Carolina state laws are set to go into effect today, including criminal defendants' ability to waive their right to a jury trial and a law that makes it a felony to poach the carnivorous Venus Flytrap plant.
Criminal Jury Trials
The right to waive a jury trial was approved in a constitutional amendment on Nov. 4 by 53-percent of voters. It's common throughout the country and applies to defendants facing felony charges, except for defendants facing the possibility of the death penalty.
Venus Flytrap Poaching
The Venus Flytrap is a rare carnivorous plant native to swamps near Wilmington, and its numbers have dwindled in part because of people stealing them from protected lands. Now, poaching them is a felony punishable by up to 25 months in prison. Offenders can now also be fined up to $150 for stealing other state-protected plants such as lilies, pitcher plants, Dutchman's breeches and orchids. The previous maximum fine was $50. Each plant taken is considered an individual offense.
Other laws in effect allow jails to sell e-cigarettes to inmates, and make it a felony to give a prisoner a cell phone.