Bill Summary for H 597 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Apr 8 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 597 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 3, 2019
AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES TO THE STATUTES GOVERNING THE WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION.
Intro. by Adams, Henson, Wray, Yarborough.

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Bill summary

Amends GS 75A-5 to require that validation decals be placed on each side of the vessel instead of just the starboard bow. Effective August 1, 2019.

Th following various license changes are effective August 1, 2019.

Amends GS 133-129 by adding and defining the terms Mountain Heritage Trout Waters and Public Mountain Trout Waters. Adds and defines the term Wildlife Resources Commission Property to mean all lands, game lands, wildlife refuges, artificial constructions in boating and fishing access areas, and all other property owned, allocated to, leased, controlled, or cooperatively managed and designated for public use by the Wildlife Resources Commission (Commission). Amends the definitions of the following terms: (1) boating and fishing access area to add areas allocated to the Commission and (2) game lands by including lands allocated to the Commission and by deleting the requirement that the lands be managed by the Commission for public hunting, trapping, or fishing. Effective August 1, 2019.

Amends GS 113-291.2 by adding that the Commission may issue proclamations to suspend, close, or modify any open wildlife season, or to adjust creel and bag limits, in order to prevent overharvest of wildlife. Requires such proclamations are subject to the same requirements as those for proclamations to set seasons, shooting hours, bag limits, and possession limits, including requiring issuance at least 48 hours before they are to become effective. Makes organizational and clarifying changes. 

Amends GS 113-291.3 as follows. Amends the records that must be kept by a person who is not a dealer operating a preservation or processing facility who possesses wildlife owned by another without any permit or license to require keeping a written record of the authorization number (was, serial number) under which the wildlife was taken. Allows permanently preserved bears or tanned ear hides and permanently preserved turkey or turkey parts to be sold with a trophy sales permit. Effective August 1, 2019.

Amends GS 113-351 to make a resident disabled veteran lifetime unified sportsman/coastal recreational fishing license valid for the licensee's lifetime (was, valid for the licensee's lifetime if the licensee remained 50% or more disabled). Effective August 1, 2019.

Amends GS 143-250.1 by adding that the Wildlife Endowment Fund is also made up of the proceeds from the sale of lifetime trapping licenses and the Commission's portion of the proceeds from the sale of lifetime unified licenses. Makes additional technical and clarifying changes. Amends the use of funds in the Fund to require that the executive director provide information as to the age of the license recipients when depositing proceeds and related investment income from Infant Lifetime Sportsman Licenses, to assist with accounting due to the time restrictions on the use of these funds. Specifies that expenditure is to be of the Fund's investment income. Provides that the dissolution of the Commission or substitute of any agency in its stead does not invalidate any lifetime license issued under GS 113-351(c) (types of unified hunting and fishing licenses), in addition to the already listed lifetime licenses. Effective August 1, 2019.

Amends GS 113-270.1B to provide that all licenses, permits, stamps, and certifications are valid for 12 months (was, licenses only). Requires the Commission to adopt rules to establish fees for all licenses, permits, stamps, and certifications issued by the Commission except those for a Recreational Commercial Gear License (was, fees for the hunting, fishing, trapping, and activity licenses only). Provides that no rule may increase a fee in excess of the total increase in the specified index, rounded up to the next whole dollar, over the period of time since the last fee change.

Amends GS 113-270.1C (combination hunting and inland fishing licenses) and GS 113-270.1D (sportsman licenses) to provide that the licenses entitle the licensee to take all wild birds and wild animals by all lawful methods, except trapping, and in all open seasons and to fish in all inland and joint fishing waters. Specifies that the license entitles the licensee to access and use Commission property, which under the definition, includes game lands. Maintains the provision excluding engaging in fishing in coastal fishing waters. Amends the applicable disabled veteran's lifetime license to make the license valid for the licensee's lifetime (was, valid for the licensee's lifetime if the licensee remained 50% or more disabled). Makes organizational and conforming changes. Amends GS 113-270.2, to specify that a hunting license allows the licensee to access and use Commission property, which under the definition includes game lands. Extends the types of hunting licenses that entitle the holder to take wild birds and wild animals  to include lifetime resident comprehensive hunting licenses, resident annual comprehensive hunting licenses, and the new falconry hunting license. Further amends the provision to provide that the lawful methods of taking birds and animals does not include trapping. Increases the fees for the resident state hunting license and the nonresident state hunting license (for both season and ten-day licenses). Amends the types of animals that may be taken with a controlled hunting preserve hunting license to also include coyotes and rabbits and to specify that domestically raised game birds (which may also be taken with a license) includes chukars and Hungarian partridges. The new falconry hunting license, which has a $25 fee, is to be issued to an individual resident or nonresident to take wildlife by falconry; requires the holder to also have a valid falconry license. This license expires June 30. 

Amends GS 113-270.3 by making changes to the following special activity licenses and stamps. Increases the fee for the nonresident big game hunting license (both the season and ten-day licenses). Amends the falconry license by adding that license holders age 16 and older must possess a specified hunting license when taking wildlife by falconry. Makes additional conforming changes. 

Amends GS 113-270.4 by making clarifying changes to the resident and nonresident hunting guide or fishing guide licenses and increases the fees for those licenses. Adds resident and nonresident hunting guide or fishing guide outfitter licenses for businesses that engage in hunting guide or fishing guide activities for compensation; sets the resident fee at $250 and nonresident fee at $1,000.

Amends GS 113-270.5 by deleting the current provisions governing trapping licenses and instead provides that no person may take wild animals by trapping during open trapping season without a valid trapping license. Provides that those with a trapping license are allowed to access and use Commission property. Establishes a new resident lifetime trapping license, with a fee of $300. 

Amends GS 113-271 to provide that the specified types of inland hook-and-line fishing licenses entail the licensee to fish with hook and line in inland fishing waters, joint fishing waters, and public mountain trout waters (the types of licenses included in this provision have been changed and the provision previously did not include public mountain trout waters). Amends the licenses as follows: (1) deletes the resident annual comprehensive inland fishing license; (2) increases the fee for the resident state inland fishing license; (3) increases the fee for the nonresident state inland fishing license; (4) increases fees for the short-term inland fishing licenses; (5) amends the resident disabled veteran lifetime inland fishing license to make it valid for the licensee's lifetime (was, valid for the licensee's lifetime if the licensee remained 50% or more disabled); and (6) increases the fee for the mountain heritage trout waters three-day fishing license and moves the license under this statute from repealed GS 133-272.

Repeals GS 113-272, which required an additional special trout license to fish in public mountain trout waters. 

Amends GS 113-272.3 to require that an Age 70 Resident Lifetime License be accompanied by proof of age, and allows showing proof of age for any of the specified licenses with a copy of the birth certificate (was, a certified copy of the birth certificate) (effective until July 1, 2019). Further amends the statute by requiring the Commission to establish a Mountain Heritage Trout Waters Program to promote trout fishing as a heritage tourism activity. Requires developing criteria for participation by cities and preparing a management plan for mountain heritage trout waters. Qualifying cities are to be designated as Mountain Heritage Trout Cities.

Amends GS 113-272.4 (collection licenses) by removing the requirement that the Executive Director determine whether a particular license applicant meets the standards and qualifications for licenses set by the Commission. Increases the license fee and no longer allows issuance for free to those representing educational or scientific institutions or governmental agencies. Adds that the Commission may adopt rules to use replacement costs of wildlife resources to offset the impact of collection or possession activities. Requires copies of the authorization allowing assistants to take, transport, or possess wildlife resources to be submitted to the Commission (was, the Executive Director or his designee). Makes additional clarifying changes. 

Amends GS 113-272.5 by removing provisions specifying that the captivity license is in the interest of human treatment of wild animals and wild birds. Increases the fee for the captivity license and establishes different fees depending on whether the license is for the holding or rehabilitation of wildlife. 

Amends GS 113-273 by removing references to "dealer licenses" and instead refers to "licenses" under the statute. Removes the cap on the fee for implementing a system of tagging or otherwise identifying and controlling species regulated under the license. Amends the controlled hunting preserve operator license by adding a new type of controlled hunting preserve, consisting of an area enclosed with a dog-proof fence on which rabbits may be hunted with dogs only. Amends the preserve for domestically raised game birds to specify that it includes chukars and Hungarian partridges. Increases the fees for the controlled hunting preserve operator license and the game bird propagation license. Specifies that the taxidermy license is also required for the tanning of hides. Increases the fee for the taxidermy license and requires licensees who are engaged in taxidermy of Cervidae (deer) to also obtain a taxidermy cervid certification for $5. Removes the specified record keeping requirements for taxidermy licenses and instead authorizes the Commission to set standards and reporting requirements for taxidermy licenses and certifications. Allows a taxidermist to to sell the game or game fish with a trophy sale permit which is now authorized by the Commission instead of the Executive Director. Adds a new wildlife control agent license and a new alligator control agent certification. 

Amends GS 113-274 by adding that unless otherwise specified, permits are issued at no cost and are valid through December 31 unless a more limited duration is set. Adds a fee for the following permits: possession permit, exportation or importation permit, and trophy wildlife sale permit. Adds an endangered species permit and a field trial permit, both of which have an associated fee.

Amends GS 113-275, GS 113-276, and GS 113-276.2 by making conforming and clarifying changes.

Amends GS 113-276.1 by removing the cap on the charge of tags upon implementation of a tagging system for fur-bearing animals. 

Amends GS 113-291.6 by amending the four conditions that must be met before a person may take wild animals by trapping with any steel-jaw, leghold, or conibear trap to allow the trap's tag to include the trapper's trapper identification number and the Commission's telephone number instead of the trapper's name and address. Effective October 1, 2019.

Amends GS 106-202.15 to allow the North Carolina Plant Conservation Board to enter into formal agreement with any agency in this state in addition to those of other states or the federal government.

Amends GS 113-136 to give inspectors and protectors jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of Article 19B of GS Chapter 106 (Plant Protection and Conservation Act).

Amends GS 113-291.10 by amending the Beaver Damage Control Advisory Board as follows. Amends the Board's membership by replacing the Director of the NC Cooperative Extension Service with a representative of the NC Association of County Commissioners. Changes the due date of the annual report to December 1. Amends the cut off date for notification of participation in the program and increases the amount and changes the due date of the required local funds. Effective January 1, 2020.

Amends GS 14-417, GS 14-417.1, and GS 14-417.2 by removing the distinction between requirements for permanent enclosure and transport containers for venomous reptiles, large constricting snakes, and crocodilians, to now require all enclosures be designed to be escape-proof, bite-proof, and have an operable lock. Amends GS 14-419 to require that when a law enforcement officer or animal control officer has probable cause to believe that any of the provisions of Article 55 (Regulation of Certain Reptiles) have been or are about to be violated, the officer is authorized and empowered (was, it is the officer's duty and the officer is authorized, empowered, and directed) to immediately investigate and consult with the representatives of the specified entities, which have been expanded to also include a designated representative of the DNCR. The consultation is to identify the species, assist with determining interim disposition, and recommend appropriate and safe methods to handle and seize the reptile involved; no longer requires delivering the reptile to the specified entities depending on reptile type. Provides that in the case of escape, or if an officer, with probable cause to believe that a reptile is being owned, possessed, used, transported, or trafficked in violation of the Article, determines that there is an immediate risk to officer or public safety, the officer is not required to consult with specified representatives and may kill the reptile. Allows the court, upon conviction of any offense contained in this Article, to require the owner to pay for the expenses (was, only necessary expenses) incurred in the seizure, delivery, and storage of the animal.  Makes additional conforming and clarifying changes. Repeals GS 14-420 which made it the duty of the officer making the seizure with probable cause to believe that the reptile is being owned, possessed, used, transported, or trafficked to arrest all persons in violation of Article 55.

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