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Public outcry leads to passage of amended SB 31 bill in North Carolina House, now on to Senate

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: North Carolina, health freedom, health news

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(NaturalNews) Last week, NaturalNews broke the story about what appeared to be a covert attempt at further restricting health freedom in North Carolina. The original version of Senate Bill 31 would have increased the penalty for in-state, non-licensed practitioners of alternative medicine from a simple misdemeanor charge to a Class I felony charge (https://www.naturalnews.com/031953_medical_pr...). But thanks to your support in bombarding the NC General Assembly with calls and letters of opposition, Rep. Jennifer Weiss from NC's 35th district issued an amendment to the bill that was passed in the NC House last week by a vote of 112 - 5. And today, the NC Senate is set to vote, and most like pass, the amended version of SB 31.

Though still considered to be a misdemeanor crime in NC, practicing any sort of medicine without a license -- including non-licensed midwives, herbalists, and others who currently operate in NC -- would have become a Class I felony under the original version of SB 31. However, the amended version now clearly states that only a person who "falsely represents himself or herself in any manner as being licensed, registered, and practicing," when, in fact, they are not, will be reclassified as a felon (http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Applications/Bil...).

When NaturalNews readers and others began mounting a backlash against the bill, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Eric Mansfield, stated to us that the intent of the original bill was never to go after non-licensed practitioners. In fact, he stated that the purpose of the bill was actually to help stop in-state frauds from getting away with pretending to be surgeons and doctors at hospitals. This, of course, is clearly a valid reason to pursue stricter penalties for such individuals.

But the problem with the vaguely-worded original SB 31 is that it lumped honest, but non-licensed, practitioners of alternative medicine together with people who travel around and pretend to be doctors when they are not. Clearly there is a big difference between the two, and the author of the original bill apparently did not take into account the eventual consequences of such non-specific wording against the alternative medicine community.

But based on all indications, the amended bill seems set to pass, representing a significant and tangible health freedom victory for which you played a significant role. None of this would have been possible without your persistent calls and emails to the NC General Assembly throughout the past week. Hundreds, if not thousands, of honest alternative medicine practitioners in NC can now rest easier knowing that they will not be re-categorized as felons within their state.

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