June 2, 2017

Bag Ban Repeal, Marine Fisheries Commission
Requirements make an appearance in House Bill 56

House bill 56, which was originally filed in February and which is now in its fourth edition, was amended this week to include the repeal of the plastic bag ban on the Outer Banks that was initiated in 2009.

The plastic bag ban was spearheaded by then Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight as a means of cutting down on litter along the coastline as well as sea turtle deaths. The 2009 ban required stores to use paper bags, and also offer a $.05 refund or credit to shoppers who bring their own bags.

The revised House Bill 56 also added changes to the number of seats on the state Marine Fisheries Commission, reducing the size from its current nine to seven seats, and effectively removing two at-large positions. It was also noted within the revised bill that “A supermajority of the Commission shall be five members” and “A supermajority shall be necessary for any action taken under the powers and duties set forth in this section, including rule making and the regulation of fisheries under a fishery management plan.”

The bill also outlines the qualifications / background for the Marine Fisheries Commission members, which are appointed by the governor. This includes enlisting commercial fishing representatives, recreational fisherman representatives, a fisheries scientist, and a licensed fish dealer and / or a person experienced or in seafood processing or distribution

The complete bill can be viewed here: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/House/PDF/H56v4.pdf

The bag ban repeal is mentioned briefly in Section 9, while the Marine Fisheries adjustments are addressed in section 20.

The bag ban repeal is also mentioned in a similar bill addressing environmental matters that was cleared by the state House in late April. The Marine Fisheries Commission changes have also been covered before, in the recent Senate version of the state budget which was approved in May.

House Bill 56, which was primarily sponsored by Representative Pat McElraf (R) of Carteret County and Representative Larry Yarborough (R) of Granville County was approved by the Senate Agriculture Environment and Natural Resources committee, but must be returned to the Senate Finance committee and the Rules panel, before it is voted on by the Senate. It will then need to go back to the House for approval, due to the revised changes.

For more information on the current status and movement of House Bill 56, visit http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2017&BillID=H56&submitButton=Go.

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