Bill Summary for H 640 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

Apr 13 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 640 (Public) Filed Monday, April 13, 2015
AN ACT TO PRESERVE NORTH CAROLINA'S OUTDOOR HERITAGE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS AND AMEND VARIOUS WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION LAWS.
Intro. by Dixon, Malone, Lucas, Presnell.

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Bill summary

Part I.

Requires the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC), in conjunction with the new Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council to develop a plan for implementing the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Trust Fund for Youth Outdoor Heritage Promotion (Trust Fund) and requires the plan to: (1) provide for the expansion of opportunities for persons age 16 and under to engage in outdoor recreational activities; (2) be eligible for the receipt of funds through check-off donations of not more than $2 by persons paying for transactions processed through the WRC; and (3) be administered by the Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council. Require WRC to report on the plan to the 2015 General Assembly when it reconvenes in 2016.

Part II.

Enacts new 143B‑344.60 establishing the 11 member Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council (Council) to advise State agencies and the General Assembly on the promotion of outdoor recreational activities. Provides for the appointment of Council members, including three members appointed upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, three members appointed upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and three members appointed by the Governor. Specifies member terms, provides for filling vacancies, and provides for chairmanship of the Council. Effective July 1, 2015.

Part III.

Requires the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) to study the need for expanded access to public lands. Requires examining ways in which public land management plans affect opportunities to engage in outdoor recreational activities and make recommendations for increasing the public's opportunities to access public lands for those purposes. Allow the LRC to make an interim report to the 2015 General Assembly when it reconvenes in 2016 and requires a final report to the 2017 General Assembly when it convenes.

Part IV. 

Amends GS 113-276.3 to require license suspension upon a third or subsequent violation for trespassing upon "posted" property to hunt, fish, or trap.  

Requires the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) to review the provisions of GS Chapter 113, Article 21B that provide for the suspension of hunting privileges upon conviction of criminally negligent hunting and determine whether those provisions should be amended or expanded to provide increased protection to the public from negligent or reckless hunting. Requires consultation with specified groups. Requires the WRC to report its findings and recommendations to the 2015 General Assembly when it reconvenes in 2016.

Part V. 

Amends GS 103‑2 to allow a landowner or member of his or her family, or any person with the landowner's written permission to hunt with firearms on Sunday on the landowner's property. Excludes hunting of migratory waterfowl on Sunday; chasing deer with dogs, or allowing a dog or dogs to run or chase deer, on Sunday; and hunting within 300 yards of a place of worship or any accessory structure thereof. Provides that the statute does not apply to actions taken in defense of a person's property. 

Effective July 1, 2018, amends GS 103‑2 further to no longer specifically prohibit hunting within 300 yards of a place of worship or any accessory structure thereof and instead provides that hunting on Sunday and the manner of taking game on Sunday may be prohibited at certain times and in certain locations by rule of the WRC. Requires the WRC to adopt rules implementing this provisions but prohibits any such rules from becoming effective before July 1, 2018.

Effective October 1, 2015.

Part VI. 

Requires any rule adopted by the WRC regulating the taking of female bears with cubs or that regulates the taking or possession of cub bears to define cub bears as bears that weigh less than 75 pounds.

Part VII.

Amends GS 113‑291.4 to allow the WRC to restrict or prohibit using dogs in hunting foxes during the breeding and raising seasons for game from April 1 through August 1. Requires the WRC to prohibit using dogs in hunting foxes from April 1 through August 1 in Bladen Lakes State Forest Game Land. Effective June 1, 2015.

Part VIII.

Enacts new GS 113‑291.5A providing that any person who gives permission to a hunter to enter upon the land to retrieve hunting dogs that have strayed onto the land owes that hunter the same duty of care the person owes a trespasser. 

Part IX.

Enacts new 113‑136.1 requiring wildlife protectors to wear and activate a body worn camera when executing a warrant based on information gathered during any undercover operation conducted by the WRC. Prohibits deactivating a body worn camera until the conclusion of the execution of the warrant. Provides that the failure to produce a photograph or video recorded by a body worn camera during the execution of the warrant does not preclude prosecution. Specifies requirements for the body worn camera. 

Part X.

Includes a severability clause. Except as otherwise provided, this act becomes effective October 1, 2015.

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