Enacts new GS 1-149.1, providing as follows. Sets out the purpose of the statute. Makes a claim for relief against a person arising from any act of the person which could reasonably be construed as an act in furtherance of the person's seeking elected public office, subject to a motion to dismiss or strike unless the court determines that: (1) the nonmoving party's claim has a substantial basis in law or a substantial argument for modifying the law and (2) the nonmoving party has established that there is a probability of that party prevailing. Requires the court to consider the pleadings and supporting and opposing affidavits stating the facts upon which the liability or defense is based. Provides that if the court determines that the nonmoving party has established a substantial basis or argument for the claim and a probability that the nonmoving party would prevail, then neither that determination nor the fact that it was made is admissible as evidence at any later stage of the case or in any subsequent action, and no burden of proof or degree of proof otherwise applicable is affected in any later stage or subsequent proceeding. Requires the staying of all discovery and any pending hearings or motions in the action when a motion to dismiss or strike has been made, until a final decision is made on the motion, but allows the court to order that specified discovery or other hearings or motions be conducted. Requires the hearing of the motion to be advanced and take precedence over all other causes on the court calendar. Sets out the timeline within which the hearing must be held and an order made, varying based on how much time is left before the election. Sets out provisions governing the awarding of costs and fees. Makes an order granting or denying a motion to dismiss or a motion to strike under this statute subject to an immediate appeal. Effective October 1, 2021, and applies to civil actions commenced on or after that date.
Effective July 1, 2021, appropriates $100,000 for 2021-22 from the General Fund to the Administrative Office of the Courts to implement the act's provisions.
Effective July 1, 2021, appropriates $10,000 for 2021-22 from the General Fund to the State Board of Elections for the Board's activities relating to this act.
Status: Ref to the Com on Judiciary 1, if favorable, Appropriations, if favorable, Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House action) (May 10 2021)
Bill H 897 (2021)Summary date: May 7 2021 - More information