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Legislation barring those convicted of felonies from running for sheriff now law

Someone who has been convicted of a felony cannot run for county sheriff in North Carolina, even if the crime has been officially expunged from the person’s record, according to legislation signed by Gov. Roy Cooper.

The measure, which applies beginning October 1, was approved by the General Assembly earlier this month. It’s one of five bills that Cooper said he signed into law on Monday.

The sheriff bill clarifies how to implement a 2010 addition to North Carolina’s constitution barring convicted felons from running for the post. While criminal offenders have been able to get some felonies removed from their records for years, enough lawmakers agreed that it shouldn’t permit someone to run for the job.

Under the new law, a sheriff’s candidate must turn in a form to election officials that confirms the person has no felonies on their current or expunged records. The idea got attention when former Davidson County Sheriff Gerald Hege ran unsuccessfully for his old job in 2018. He had gotten convictions removed from his record.

Another bill Cooper signed into law delays payments of state Alcoholic Beverage Control fees by restaurants, bars and other businesses until October 1, in response to the COVID-19 recovery for these industries.

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