Monday, November 30, 2009

Legislation - Effective Dates

 Toward the end of each year, constituents, journalists, and others become (understandably) quite interested in what new laws are becoming effective when. In North Carolina, the Legislative Library tracks those dates and publishes a very useful list of the effective dates of major legislation: 2009 Legislation Effective Dates.

Unbeknownst to some, but as any law writer knows, a bill sponsor's selection of an effective date for a piece of legislation is a critical decision sometimes governed by rules of the chamber in which the bill will be filed, or by some other convention.

July 1 is a common effective date for North Carolina laws because the State follows a fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30.

December 1 is the effective dates used for courts and criminal law bills in order to allow time for adequate notice to the public and formal training on the new laws for criminal justice personnel.

January 1 of the next year is usually required as the effective date for tax law changes, but it is otherwise a mainstay for obvious reasons.

{Yes, Law Writer does not hesitate to use words like "unbeknownst" and "mainstay" in instances other than the drafting of bills -- for obvious reasons.}

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