A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO (1) ADJUST THE FEES CHARGED FOR CERTAIN HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSES ISSUED BY THE WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION AND REPEAL THE COUNTY HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING LICENSES AND THE NONCOMMERCIAL SPECIAL DEVICE LICENSES; (2) ESTABLISH A BLACK BEAR MANAGEMENT STAMP THAT MUST BE PROCURED BEFORE TAKING BEAR WITHIN THE STATE AND AMEND THE LAW RESTRICTING THE TAKING OF BLACK BEAR WITH BAIT; (3) ADJUST THE AGE FOR DISCOUNTED SPECIAL LICENSES FROM AGE SIXTY-FIVE TO AGE SEVENTY; (4) PROVIDE THAT EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2015, THOSE HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSE FEES IN EFFECT SHALL REMAIN AT THE EXISTING LEVELS UNTIL THE WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION ESTABLISHES NEW FEES THROUGH RULE MAKING, AND AUTHORIZE THE WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION TO ESTABLISH LICENSE FEES THROUGH RULE MAKING BEGINNING IN 2015; (5) REPLACE THE CURRENT SIX PERCENT WILDLIFE SERVICE AGENT COMMISSION FEE WITH A TWO-DOLLAR TRANSACTION FEE; (6) PROVIDE THAT NO MORE THAN TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF THE WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION'S AUTHORIZED OPERATING BUDGET SHALL BE KEPT IN RESERVE; AND (7) PROVIDE AN ANNUAL TARGET FOR UTILIZATION OF THE ANNUAL EXPENDABLE INTEREST OF THE WILDLIFE ENDOWMENT FUND.
Senate committee substitute deletes the provisions of the 2nd edition and instead provides as follows.
Amends the short and long titles.
Raises the fees for the following licenses by various amounts: The Resident Combination Hunting and Inland Fishing License, Annual Sportsman License, Lifetime Sportsman Licenses, Resident State Hunting License, Lifetime Resident Comprehensive Hunting License, Controlled Hunting Preserve Hunting License, Resident Annual Comprehensive Hunting License, Nonresident State Hunting License, Resident Big Game Hunting License, Nonresident Bear Hunting License, Nonresident Big Game Hunting License, Migratory Waterfowl Hunting License, hunting and fishing guide licenses issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission(WRC), trapping licenses issued by the WRC, Hook-and-Line fishing licenses issued by the WRC, Special Trout License, Mountain Heritage Trout Waters 3-Day Fishing License, Resident Special Device licenses issued by the WRC, and the Unified Hunting and Fishing Licenses.
The fees for the following licenses were lowered by the act: The Resident Disabled Veteran Lifetime Unified Sportsman/Coastal Recreational Fishing License, Resident Disabled Veteran Lifetime Sportsman License, Resident Totally Disabled Lifetime Sportsman License, Resident Totally Disabled Lifetime Unified Sportsman/Coastal Recreational Fishing License and Resident Special Device License.
Provides that the different disabled veteran licenses can also be issued to resident veterans that are at least 50% disabled as established by the rules of the WRC (current law only allows the issuance for 50% disablement as determined by the US Department of Veteran Affairs or by the Social Security Administration depending on the license).
Provides that the age for discounted special licenses is now 70 (was, 65). Makes conforming changes in regards to the age change, providing that now adult licenses are issued to individuals between the age of 12 and 70.
Amends GS 113-270.2(c), repealing the Resident County Hunting License and changing the Six-Day Nonresident State Hunting License to a Ten-Day License.
Amends GS 113-270.3, establishing a bear management stamp for a $10 fee, which must be obtained prior to the taking of any bear in NC. Funds from the fee will be dedicated to black bear research and management. Changes the Six-Day Nonresident Big Game Hunting License to a Ten-Day License.
Amends GS 113-270.5(b) and GS 113-271(d), repealing the Resident County Trapping License and the Resident County Inland Fishing License.
Amends GS 113-272.2(c), repealing the Resident Noncommercial Special Device License and the Nonresident Noncommercial Special Device License and providing for only the Resident Special Device License and the Nonresident Special Device License (current law has these two licenses labeled as "Commercial" licenses, this language is now deleted).
Amends GS 113-291.1(b), adding language providing that the WRC cannot establish rules that allow the taking of a black bear with the use and aid of any kind of bear bait. Also prohibits the WRC from making rules that allow the taking of a bear while it is consuming bait.
Repeals Chapter 828 of the 1981 Session Laws, a local act prohibiting the taking of a black bear with bait.
Amends GS 113-26, exemptions and exceptions to license and permit requirements, providing that landowners are not exempt from the requirement to obtain a bear management stamp before the taking of a black bear on their property. Amends GS 113-276(n), updating statute citations.
Amends GS 113-270.1(b), concerning licensing agents, providing that license agents can charge a fee of $2 per transaction for the issuance of licenses or permits (was, can deduct a fee of up to 6% from the amount collected for each license or permit).
Amends GS 113-270.1B by adding a new subsection (c) providing that for licenses sold directly through the WRC, the WRC can charge a fee of $2 per transaction. Prohibits a fee from being charged for the federal Harvest Information Program certification, big game harvest report cards for lifetime license holders, exempt landowners, persons of less than 16 years of age, or for any other license or vessel transactions that do not carry a charge.
Amends GS 75A-5.2(c), to increase the surcharge levied and received by vessel agents for certain transactions. Provides that the surcharge will be added to the fee for each certificate issued.
Amends GS Chapter 143 by adding a new section, GS 143-249.1, operating budget, providing that no more than 25% of the certified operating budget of the WRC is allowed to accumulate in a cash balance. Provides that it is the intent of the General Assembly to implement nonrecurring reductions in subsequent fiscal years in the amount equal to the cash balance that exceeds 25% of the authorized operating budget in the prior fiscal year.
Amends GS 143-250.1 by adding a new subsection that provides that when the cash balance in the Wildlife Endowment Fund is equal to or greater than $100 million, the WRC will budget at least 50% of the annual expendable interest from the Fund to implement the conservation goals found in the WRC's strategic plan.
The WRC is directed to adopt rules to establish fees for the hunting, fishing, trapping, and activity licenses issued and administered by the WRC. However, no rule to increase fees above January 1, 2015, levels may increase a fee in excess of the average increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers over the preceding five years. Provides that effective January 1, 2015, the statutory fees for the hunting, fishing, trapping, and activity licenses issued and administered by the WRC will remain at the levels existing on that date until the rules required to be adopted by the WRC become effective. Provides that the statutory fees for the hunting, fishing, trapping, and activity licenses issued and administered by the WRC will expire when the WRC's adopted rules become effective.
Provides that all discounted licenses for persons at least 65 years of age provided for in GS 113-270.1D(b), 113-271(d), 113-351(c), and 113-174.2(c) for which the age requirement is increased from 65 to 70 by this act will remain available at age 65 for persons born on or before August 1, 1953.
Amends the enactment clause, providing that Sections 1 through 11 and Sections 14 and 21 of the act become effective August 1, 2014. Sections 12 and 13 are effective when they become law. Sections 15, 16, 17, and 18 of the act become effective January 1, 2014. Section 20 becomes effective January 1, 2015. The remainder of this act becomes effective July 1, 2013.
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