Bill Summary for H 181 (2021-2022)

Summary date: 

Feb 25 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021-2022 Session
House Bill 181 (Public) Filed Thursday, February 25, 2021
AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES TO THE STATUTES GOVERNING THE WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION.
Intro. by Adams, Yarborough, Wray.

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Bill summary

Enacts GS 143-254.7 to authorize the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) negotiate fees for all design contracts and supervise the letting of all construction and design contracts, and develop procedures governing the architecture and engineering duties of the Department of Administration and the Director or Office of State Construction, as specified, with respect to property developments at WRC boating access areas, public fishing areas, and game lands which require the estimated expenditure from sources other than tax revenues of $750,000 or less. Requires use of the standard contracts used for State capital improvement projects by the office of State Construction. Prohibits division of contracts to evade the statute's limitations. Prohibits the Department of Administration from awarding contracts now within the authority of WRC. Establishes annual reporting requirements for WRC to report to the State Building Commission, as specified. Effective July 1, 2021.

Amends GS 143C-8-12 to authorize WRC to approve expenditures for WRC capital projects that will be funded entirely with agency receipts or federal funds and operating costs paid entirely with receipts or federal funds. Adds annual reporting requirements to the Office of State Budget and Management and the specified NCGA commission. Effective July 1, 2021.

Amends GS 143-341 to exempt WRC vehicles used primarily for law enforcement purposes from those required to be included on the Department of Administration's schedule for all State agencies to transfer ownership, custody or control of all passenger motor vehicles of that agency to the Department. Effective July 1, 2021.

Enacts GS 113-291.7(c) and (d) to require a hunter that has harvested a black bear to submit a premolar tooth to WRC by January 31 following the applicable prior bear hunting season, along with the specified contact information, customer number and bear harvest authorization number, sex of the bear and county of harvest. Makes violations an infraction punishable by a $35 fine. Prohibits assessing court costs for infractions, but authorizes the WRC Executive Director to revoke or refuse to issue bear e-stamp privileges to individuals guilty of the infraction for two consecutive years or upon failure to pay outstanding fines. Applies to bear hunting seasons beginning on or after October 1, 2021. Authorizes WRC to adopt temporary and permanent implementing rules. 

Enacts GS 113-292(f), authorizing WRC to issue proclamations suspending or implementing WRC inland fishing rules in response to natural disasters, human health emergencies, and issues threatening or compromising the biological integrity of a species or population. Allows WRC to delegate the authority to its Executive Director. Requires the Executive Director to maintain a permanent file of the text of all proclamations in the Executive Director's office. Details requirements of proclamations issued, including requiring the proclamation to be issued at least 48 hours prior to its effective date and time, with exceptions, and providing for its continued validity until a rescinding proclamation is issued in the same manner.  Authorizes seizure of any fisheries resources taken or possessed in violation of a proclamation regardless of actual notice, and authorizes criminal action. Describes reasonable efforts to give notice to affected parties. Deems certified copies entitled to judicial notice. 

Repeals subsection (b) of Section 35, SL 2015-263, which requires WRC to annually report to the specified NCGA committee on the number of complaints received against WRC law enforcement officers, the subject matter of the complaints, and the geographic areas in which the complaints were filed.

Amends GS 113-273 to establish an annual certification for a wildlife control technician under the direct supervision of a licensed wildlife control agent and who engages in wildlife damage control or wildlife removal activities for compensation, including bat eviction and alligator damage control or removal activities. Defines compensation to include reimbursement for cost of materials. Sets the certification fee at $25, issued by WRC. Excludes authority to issue depredation permits. Prohibits requiring the certification for licensed trappers taking wild animals during an appropriate established trapping season. Authorizes WRC to adopt rules to certify and set standards for the technicians. Makes technical changes. Effective October 1, 2021.

Amends GS 113-276 to exempt a resident or nonresident of this State who served as a member of the Armed Forces and who separated under honorable conditions, from the statutory Mountain Heritage Trout fishing license requirements while the individual is fishing in Mountain Heritage Trout waters. Requires documentation of service to be on the person while fishing in order to qualify for the exemption. Effective October 1, 2021.

Amends Section 1 of SL 2019-98 to make it unlawful, during waterfowl seasons, to leave or place any equipment or vessels that may be used for taking migratory waterfowl between two hours after sunset and 4:00 am each day unless remaining on a portion of the shoreline or attached to a dock as authorized by the shoreline or dock owner. Amends the current prohibition on leaving unattended or unoccupied any equipment or vessels for taking migratory waterfowl, to limit it to between 4:00 am and two hours after sunset (was, prior to 4:00 am). Applicable to Roanoke Rapids Lake only.

Amends GS 113-270.1A to require obtaining a dog hunter education certificate for completion of a dog hunter education course before a person may pursue or chase deer with dogs for the purpose of training or hunting. Makes specified requirements for the courses in hunter ethics, wildlife laws and regulations, and competency and safety in the handling of firearms also applicable to this certificate and education course. Requires the WRC to adopt rules to implement these requirements. Requires the WRC to establish, from its membership, an advisory committee to create the dog hunter education course. Requires the committee to also include at least two representatives from organizations promoting or conducting dog hunting in the state.

Enacts new GS 143-254.7 allowing the WRC to declare a wildlife emergency if it determines that an outbreak of Chronic Wasting Disease in the state constitutes a significant threat to deer and other cervid species. If an emergency is declared, requires the WRC to request needed additional funding from the Contingency and Emergency Fund to the Council of State; approved funds are to be allocated to the Chronic Wasting Disease Emergency Response Fund. Requires the WRC to request any available federal funds and to use those funds to offset State funds appropriated under this section. Requires the WRC to inform the Office of State Budget and Management of the amount of State funds offset by federal funds, and requires the funds to be transferred from the Response Fund to the Contingency and Emergency Fund when the federal funds are received. Effective July 1, 2021.

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