North Carolina General Assembly will convene in a special two or three
day session today to address a number of outstanding issues and
potential veto overrides, which may include a bill that repeals the
Outer Banks plastic bag ban.
House Bill 56, which provided $435,000 out of
$2.6 million requested to deal with a pollutant called GenX in the Cape
Fear area, also included several unrelated environmental changes such
as the repeal of the plastic bag ban on the Outer Banks. The repeal
takes up just one line of the bill that reads “SECTION 10.(a) Part 2G
of Article 9 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes is repealed.”
The bill was passed by the North Carolina House
and Senate at the end of August, but was vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper
on September 21.
In a statement, Governor Cooper called the
legislation “cynical” and noted that it “…provides no resources to the
state agencies charged with protecting drinking water and preventing
illegal chemicals from being discharged into our rivers. It gives the
impression of action while allowing the long-term problem to fester.
And it unnecessarily rolls back other environmental protections for
landfills, river basins, and our beaches.”
The 2009 plastic bag repeal ban was the
brainchild of then-Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight of Dare
County as a way to cut down on litter, as well as the deaths of
offshore sea turtles which often pay a visit to the Outer Banks to lay
their eggs along the seashore.
The ban requires stores to use paper bags, and
also to provide a $.05 refund per bag for customers who bring their own
reusable bags to an individual store.
The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
supported the repeal, but local organizations including the Dare County
Board of Commissioners (BOC) and the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce
have both publicly spoken out against repealing the ban.
There is no guarantee that an override of the
veto will be discussed in the brief early October session, but an email
last week from House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) to other GOP
members of the House listed roughly a dozen items to be considered,
which included House Bill 56.
In North Carolina, if the Governor vetoes a bill,
the bill is returned to the original house where 3/5 of present and
voting members can vote to override the veto. If the original house
votes to override the veto, the bill is sent to the second house where
3/5 of present and voting members must also vote to override the veto
before the bill can become law.
In August, House Bill 56 passed the senate with a vote of 29 to 10, and it passed the house 61-44.
For the complete details of House Bill 56, including recent activity, refer to http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2017&BillID=H56&submitButton=Go.