12-3.  Rules for construction of statutes.

In the construction of all statutes the following rules shall be observed, unless such construction would be inconsistent with the manifest intent of the General Assembly, or repugnant to the context of the same statute, that is to say:

(1)        Singular and Plural Number, Masculine Gender, etc. - Every word importing the singular number only shall extend and be applied to several persons or things, as well as to one person or thing; and every word importing the plural number only shall extend and be applied to one person or thing, as well as to several persons or things; and every word importing the masculine gender only shall extend and be applied to females as well as to males, unless the context clearly shows to the contrary.

(2)        Authority, to Three or More Exercised by Majority. - All words purporting to give a joint authority to three or more public officers or other persons shall be construed as giving such authority to a majority of such officers or other persons, unless it shall be otherwise expressly declared in the law giving the authority.

(3)        "Month" and "Year". - The word "month" shall be construed to mean a calendar month, unless otherwise expressed; and the word "year," a calendar year, unless otherwise expressed; and the word "year" alone shall be equivalent to the expression "year of our Lord." When a statute refers to a period of one or more months and the last month does not have a date corresponding to the initial date, the period shall expire on the last day of the last month.

(4)        Leap Year, How Counted. - In every leap year the increasing day and the day before, in all legal proceedings, shall be counted as one day.

(5)        "Oath" and "Sworn". - The word "oath" shall be construed to include "affirmation," in all cases where by law an affirmation may be substituted for an oath, and in like cases the word "sworn" shall be construed to include the word "affirmed."

(6)        "Person" and "Property". - The word "person" shall extend and be applied to bodies politic and corporate, as well as to individuals, unless the context clearly shows to the contrary. The words "real property" shall be coextensive with lands, tenements and hereditaments. The words "personal property" shall include moneys, goods, chattels, choses in action and evidences of debt, including all things capable of ownership, not descendable to heirs at law. The word "property" shall include all property, both real and personal.

(7)        "Preceding" and "Following". - The words "preceding" and "following," when used by way of reference to any section of a statute, shall be construed to mean the section next preceding or next following that in which such reference is made; unless when some other section is expressly designated in such reference.

(8)        "Seal". - In all cases in which the seal of any court or public office shall be required by law to be affixed to any paper issuing from such court or office, the word "seal" shall be construed to include an impression of such official seal, made upon the paper alone, as well as an impression made by means of a wafer or of wax affixed thereto.

(9)        "Will". - The term "will" shall be construed to include codicils as well as wills.

(10)      "Written" and "in Writing". - The words "written" and "in writing" may be construed to include printing, engraving, lithographing, and any other mode of representing words and letters: Provided, that in all cases where a written signature is required by law, the same shall be in a proper handwriting, or in a proper mark.

(11)      "State" and "United States". - The word "state," when applied to the different parts of the United States, shall be construed to extend to and include the District of Columbia and the several territories, so called; and the words "United States" shall be construed to include the said district and territories and all dependencies.

(12)      "Imprisonment for One Month," How Construed. - The words "imprisonment for one month," wherever used in any of the statutes, shall be construed to mean "imprisonment for thirty days."

(13)      "Governor," "Senator," "Solicitor," "Elector," "Executor," "Administrator," "Collector," "Juror," and "Auditor". - The words "Governor," "Senator," "district attorney," "elector," "executor," "administrator," "collector," "juror," "auditor," and any other words of like character shall when applied to the holder of such office, or occupant of such position, be words of common gender, and they shall be a sufficient designation of the person holding such office or position, whether the holder be a man or woman.

(14)      "Devisee" and "Devise". - The word "devisee," wherever used in any of the statutes, shall be construed to mean "devisee" as defined in G.S. 28A-1-1. The word "devise," wherever used in any of the statutes as a noun, shall be construed to mean a testamentary disposition of real or personal property and, wherever used in any of the statutes as a verb, shall be construed to mean to dispose of real or personal property by will.

(15)      Requirement to consult with a committee or commission of the General Assembly. - All words purporting to require an individual or other entity to consult with a committee or commission of the General Assembly before taking an action shall be construed to require the entity to do all of the following:

a.         Submit a report of the action under consideration to the chairs and staff of the committee or commission. The report shall include all information required by statute and the rules of that committee or commission. The staff of the committee or commission shall make the report available electronically to the members of the committee or commission and to the public.

b.         Appear at a meeting of the committee or commission at which the matter is heard. Unless another period of time is specified by statute, the requirement to appear is satisfied if the committee or commission does not have a meeting at which the matter is heard within 90 days of receiving the required submission.  (21 Hen. III; R.S., c. 31, s. 113; R.C., c. 31, s. 108; c. 108; Code, s. 3765; Rev., s. 2831; C.S., s. 3949; 1921, c. 30; 1973, c. 47, s. 2; 1977, c. 446, s. 4; 2011-284, s. 1; 2012-142, s. 6.11.)