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NC regulation reform moves through committee

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A provision in the Senate budget bill would create restrictions for online jail mug shots and ban companies from charging people to take them down. A provision in the Senate budget bill would create restrictions for online jail mug shots and ban companies from charging people to take them down.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Large bills on regulatory reform and environmental laws cleared several House committees Wednesday but did not make it to the House floor.

The regulatory reform measure contains dozens of other wide-ranging provisions, including ethics requirements for city officials and the privatization of mug shots. It also would regulate zoning for fraternity and sorority houses at colleges and universities. A measure requiring licenses for landscape contractors was removed.

Lawmakers said the licensing provision protected the landscape industry instead of the public and could provide a barrier for smaller startup landscape companies. Another provision would prohibit billboard owners from removing vegetation along highway ramps to make signs visible.

The regulatory reform bill includes provisions that have previously surfaced in other forms, including a measure that bans children and teenagers younger than 18 from using a tanning bed.

All mug shots would be kept from the public until someone is charged with a crime under another provision that is a spinoff from a House bill filed last month. The provision could prevent news organizations and websites from publishing mug shot galleries and commercial companies from charging people a fee to take the picture down.

A Senate bill the House also considered includes a provision that would increase the size of wetlands subject to state protection. Environmentalists say that move could make smaller wetlands vulnerable. An amendment to lower the size requirement and expand protections was shot down in the House Environment committee.

"These isolated wetlands are really a part of our regional water systems," said Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange. "They provide an important purification function. We need to be very careful about deregulating them in general."

The full House may take up both bills later this week.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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