The General Assembly has breathed new life into the state's cemetery laws.
Lawmakers have given final approval to bills that would toughen penalties for grave vandals and define what are abandoned burial sites.
The bills were approved unanimously today by the Senate and sent to Governor Easley's desk for his signature.
Supporters say they will help preserve remains and other artifacts of North Carolina history.
Under one of the bills, anyone who vandalizes or defaces a grave mark, tombstone or other cemetery monument would be guilty of a low-grade felony, no matter how small the damage. The law now makes such activity a misdemeanor if the damage is less than a thousand dollars.