In the last two years, academics and scholars of public policy have identified North Carolina as a state with an overly
complex criminal code that can ensnare small businesses, farmers, and individuals who unknowingly fail to comply
with regulatory rules. In 2014, Professor Jeff Welty of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government published an article
in the North Carolina Law Review, “Overcriminalization in North Carolina”; and James Copland and Isaac Gorodetski,
directors respectively of the Center for Legal Policy and the Center for State and Local Leadership at the Manhattan
Institute for Policy Research, published a primer, “Overcriminalizing the Old North State.”
The John Locke Foundation has a long-standing interest in the Map Act, which we have criticized for being “inefficient, unfair, and unnecessary.” We have repeatedly urged the General Assembly to repeal or reform it. We have also taken a keen interest in Kirby v. NCDOT and in the legal and constitutional issues that it raises.
This paper therefore proposes a state-based REINS Act as a key sunrise provision to prevent adding unnecessary and harmful regulations to the state’s regulatory burden. It describes aspects of a REINS Act for North Carolina.
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