H686: Freedom to Celebrate the Fourth of July. Latest Version

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2019

HOUSE BILL 686
RATIFIED BILL

AN ACT TO PROTECT THE RIGHT TO CELEBRATE THE FOURTH OF JULY, IN
COMMEMORATIONOFTHE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCEOFTHEUNITED

STATES.

Whereas, on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the final draft of
the Declaration of Independence, declaring freedom of the 13 American colonies from British
rule at a meeting held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and
Whereas, the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence included three North
Carolinians, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and John Penn; and

Whereas, on May 16, 1783, the General Assembly "Resolved, that the fourth day of
July be and is hereby appointed a day of General Thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God for
the gracious Interposition of Divine Providence in behalf of this nation …"; and
Whereas, the North Carolina General Assemblyon May16, 1783, passed a resolution
commemorating the Fourth of July, and was the first State to do so; and
Whereas, the first Fourth of July celebration in the country was proclaimed by
Governor Alexander Martin in 1783 as a result of that resolution; and

Whereas, Independence Day is the most important holiday celebrating our nation's
founding; Now, therefore,

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding G.S. 166A-19.30, the Governor shall not prohibit

parades, or firework displays discharged in accordance with Article 54 of Chapter 14 of the
General Statutes, scheduled to occur between 5:00 P.M. on July 1st and 5:00 P.M. on July 10th.
SECTION 2. Notwithstanding G.S. 166A-19.31, a municipality or county shall not
prohibit parades, or firework displays discharged in accordance with Article 54 of Chapter 14 of
the General Statutes, scheduled to occur between 5:00 P.M. on July 1st and 5:00 P.M. on July
10th.Nomunicipalityorcountyshalldenyorrevokeareasonablepermitforaparade,orfirework
displaydischargedin accordancewithArticle54ofChapter14oftheGeneralStatutes,scheduled

to occur between 5:00 P.M. on July 1st and 5:00 P.M. on July 10th. For a municipality or county
to revoke or deny a permit that is substantially the same as a permit that was approved for a
parade or fireworks display that was scheduled to be held between 5:00 P.M. on July 1st, 2019,
and 5:00 P.M. on July 10th, 2019, a finding of good cause by the governing board is required,
and the finding must be documented in writing.
SECTION 3. Notwithstanding G.S. 166A-19.30(d) and G.S. 166A-31(h), a person
shall not be prosecuted for the Class 2 misdemeanor for violation of a declaration or executive

order merely for the act of attending or participating in a parade, or firework display discharged
in accordance with Article 54 of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, scheduled to occur between
5:00 P.M. on July 1st and 5:00 P.M. on July 10th.
SECTION 4. No person shall be liable civillyfor anyact or omission alleged to have
resulted in the contraction of COVID-19 during a parade, or firework display discharged in
accordance with Article 54 of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, scheduled to occur between

*H686-v-5*5:00 P.M. on July 1st and 5:00 P.M. on July 10th, unless the act or omission amounts to gross
negligence, willful or wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing. This section does not apply to
any of the following:
(1) Claims before the Industrial Commission seeking benefits payable under the
Workers' Compensation Act, Article 1 of Chapter 97 of the General Statutes.
(2) Claims arising later than one year after the expiration or rescission of
Executive Order No. 116 issued March 10, 2020.

SECTION 5. This act is effective when it becomes law, and applies to any parades
or firework displays scheduled to occur between 5:00 P.M. on July 1st and on 5:00 P.M. July
10th. Except as otherwise provided, this act expires when any applicable declaration of
emergency prohibitions and restrictions on parades and firework displays scheduled to occur
between 5:00 P.M. on July 1st and 5:00 P.M. on July 10th, expire or are terminated.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 24 day of June, 2020.

s/ Philip E. Berger
President Pro Tempore of the Senate

s/ Tim Moore

Speaker of the House of Representatives

_____________________________________
Roy Cooper

Governor

Approved __________.m. this ______________ day of ___________________, 2020

Page 2 House Bill 686-Ratified