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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Sizeable Snakes and Stealing Hearts -- Controversial Votes in North Carolina

2009 July 29 - Bonnie

Here in the Key Votes Department, we have to be selective about which votes we choose to put on the PVS website.  Occasionally, a controversial bill with lots of press or narrow vote margins must be passed over because it does not represent a strong issue position.  In July, the North Carolina state legislature ratified two such bills: SB 307, which regulates the ownership of large reptiles, and HB 1110, which limits North Carolina's unique alienation of affection law.

According to an article by the North Carolina News & Observer, Burmese Pythons are the most commonly owned household snake species.  They can grow up to sixteen feet, enabling them to consume dogs as large as German Shepherds.  Under the new law, Burmese Pythons, other large constrictor snakes, and crocodiles must be kept and transported in secure, clearly marked, and inescapable containers.   If they escape, are handled improperly, or harm human beings, the owner can be convicted of a Class A1 misdemeanor.  While this bill passed 46-0 in the Senate and 109-1 in the House (Representative Bordsen cast the lone dissenting vote), the measure has received media attention from the Associated Press and snake enthusiasts all over the state.

On a completely different note, the NC legislature has now made it tougher for spouses to sue their husband or wife's significant other under a rare and age-old legal measure – alienation of affection.  North Carolina is one of only six states that still allow spouses to sue third ...

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