Governor Cooper signed into law House Bill 128, a law that makes it illegal to fly a drone over or near prisons and jails, where drones can be used to deliver contraband like drugs, weapons and cell phones to inmates. 

Drones have been found carrying contraband at or near North Carolina prisons at least twice, with about half a dozen cases in recent years of drones spotted flying near prisons. Earlier this month in South Carolina, an inmate escaped from a maximum security prison using a tool reportedly delivered to him by drone. Under the new law, those who use drones to deliver weapons or other contraband to North Carolina inmates could be charged with felonies, while flying a drone within 500 feet of a prison could result in a misdemeanor charge.

“Criminals look to exploit the latest technology and we must make sure our laws keep up,” Gov. Cooper said. “Drones are the newest way to get drugs and weapons behind prison walls and this law will help law enforcement fight prison contraband and the crime it causes.”

Gov. Cooper also signed the following bills into law:

House Bill 89: An Act to Allow Municipalities to Transfer the Powers, Duties, and Responsibilities of a Public Housing Authority to a Regional Council of Government 

House Bill 353: An Act to Authorize the Addition of Bob’s Creek State Natural Area, Warwick Mill Bay State Natural Area, and Salmon Creek State Natural Area to the State Parks System, as Recommended by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and to Direct the Department to Study the Establishment of a State Park on the Black River (click here for press release from the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources) 

House Bill 396: An Act Authorizing the City of Wilson to Continue the Provision of Communication Services in the City’s Temporary Extension Areas Until Thirty Days After Alternative Service is Established 

House Bill 434: An Act to Exempt Rare Coins, Paper Currency, and Precious Metals Sales from Sales Tax 

House Bill 559: An Act to Expand the Use of Firearms for Hunting of Wild Animals and Upland Game Birds on Sunday and to Allow Hunting of Migratory Birds on Sunday 

House Bill 656: An Act to Provide Flexibility to the College of the Albemarle in Using State Funds to Enter into Certain Construction Projects for Educational Facilities with the Counties Served by the Community College 

House Bill 657: An Act Modifying the Laws Prohibiting Issuance of Adult Care Home Licenses Due to Prior Violations; Exempting from Certificate of Need Review New Institutional Health Services Involving the Acquisition of an Unlicensed Adult Care Home that Was Previously Licensed; Establishing a Process for Adult Care Homes to Request Informal Dispute Resolution of Certain Adverse Inspection Findings by County Departments of Social Services Prior to Imposition of a Penalty or Issuance of a Star Rating Certificate Based on the Adverse Inspection Findings; Amending the Rules Pertaining to Minimum Training for Personal Care Aides; Eliminating the Twelve- to Twenty-Four-Month Penalty on Adult Care Home Star Ratings; And Directing the Department of Health and Human Services to Study the Effectiveness of the North Carolina Star-Rated Certificate Program for Adult Care Homes 

Senate Bill 82: An Act to Make Various Changes to the Employment Laws 

Senate Bill 344: An Act to Consolidate the Division of Adult Correction and the Division of Juvenile Justice into a Single Division Within the Department of Public Safety, as Recommended by the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety and to Exempt the Fabrication of Eyeglasses from Capitated Prepaid Health Plan Contracts Under Medicaid Transformation 

Senate Bill 468: An Act to Modify the Uses for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds 

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