The General Assembly approved a pair of bills this week to protect cemeteries. One bill, House Bill 105, would make vandalism of a grave marker or any other cemetery monument a felony instead of a misdemeanor and desecration of human remains would become a higher grade felony. Under existing law, vandalism that results in damage of less than $1,000 is a misdemeanor. The other bill, House Bill 107, better defines abandoned and public cemeteries and attempts to make it easier for groups to set up trusts to pay for the cemeteries' upkeep. The bills have been sent to Gov. Mike Easley for his approval.
Convicted drunken drivers would be allowed to wear alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelets instead of serving jail time under Senate Bill 1290 approved in the House this week. The bracelets would cost $12 a day, some of which would be paid by the convicted drivers. Some representatives questioned whether it was fair to adopt use of the devices, since some people could not afford their use. Supporters argued that counties may be willing to bear the cost since the bracelets would keep drunken drivers off the road and be less expensive than jail.