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NC House Unanimously Passes Bill To Amend State Consent Laws

Lawmakers in the North Carolina House unanimously voted Monday night to amend the state's sexual assault laws to say anyone mentally incapacitated by drugs or alcohol is not capable of giving consent.

The vote comes after a series published by Carolina Public Press that exposed the law's shortcomings. It found that under North Carolina law, it's illegal to have sex with with an incapacitated person, but not if he or she caused that incapacitation through personal drug use or drinking.

The legislation does not address another loophole in consent law. North Carolina is the only state in the nation in which a person cannot legally withdraw consent once a sexual act has started.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Meanwhile, a bill aimed at preventing future backlogs of untested rape kits in North Carolina is advancing within the state House. The measure would require police and sheriff's departments to submit new, completed kits for testing to the State Crime Lab, an approved third-party lab, or the Department of Public Safety within 45 days of receiving them.

The bill also directs local law enforcement to create panels that review sexual assault kits and prioritize which should be tested first.

Currently, North Carolina has a backlog of about 15,000 untested rape kits.

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