Please note the urgent action requested at the end of this story
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — A vote of the N.C. House on Thursday has put Watauga County a step closer to having a special privilege not afforded the rest of the state — that of deciding whether to uphold North Carolina’s 139-year-old Sunday hunting ban or to follow new Wildlife Resources Commission rules that allow bow hunting on the Lord’s Day.
House Bill 1696, introduced by Rep. Cullie Tarleton (D-Watauga) at the request of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners, would allow the county to hold a referendum in conjunction with November’s General Election so that voters could decide whether to opt out or join the new bow hunting provision.
“We are not offering any opposition to this measure,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, “but we’d rather see lawmakers do away with the new Wildlife rule altogether via House Bill 1930, which would make the local bill unnecessary.”
“Where is the wisdom of allowing the people of Watauga a chance to redress their grievances concerning the Wildlife Resources Commission’s rules change by referendum and not allowing all of North Carolina to decide on this matter by the normal and most accepted means — the Legislature?” he added.
Rep. Edgar Starnes (R-Catawba) expressed similar concerns while applauding Rep. Tarleton for bringing the bill forward.
“Rep. (Dewey) Hill (D-Brunswick) and Rep. (Tim) Spear (D-Chowan) have a bill that we stop Sunday hunting statewide, but it’s tied up in the Rules Committee and it’s not going to be voted on. So given that option, Rep. Tarleton has done the only thing he was able to do to represent his people,” he told fellow lawmakers. “I only wish my county was included.”
Rep. Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) spoke against the bill saying that it denied the rights of property owners and was inherently unfair.
“If we think it is logical to outlaw this on Sunday why don’t we outlaw golf on Sunday? …,” he said. “Why don’t we outlaw fishing? Why don’t we outlaw all the other things that are not affected by this bill?”
Rep. Jeff Barnhardt (R-Cabarrus) also opposed the measure, saying it could lead to a “patchwork quilt” of regulations so that when you cross a county line you have “different rules to play by.”
“These arguments on the House floor and the act of keeping this bill bottled up in Committee really seek to protect and preserve the will of the Wildlife Resources Commission rather than defend the right of the people to decide,” the Rev. Creech said. “Let’s allow our Representative Democracy to do its job and allow a vote on House Bill 1930.”
Despite their own studies that showed Sunday hunting was not popular with the general public or even among hunters, the WRC announced changes in its rules in the spring of 2009 to allow Sunday bow hunting beginning July 1 of that year. Fortunately the rule change was held up when the Rules Review Committee received at least 10 letters of opposition. But unless the Legislature this session passes House Bill 1930, the new change will take effect, setting the stage for full scale Sunday hunting.
To hear the audio of the debate on House floor concerning the Watauga bill click here
Urgent, Take Christian Action: The Christian Action League has learned that the Democrats will consider in caucus whether to allow a hearing of HB 1930. If you haven’t already contacted the members of the House Rules Committee and asked them to request the leadership to allow a hearing of HB 1930 – Repeal Rule Change/Sunday Hunting, please do so immediately. Be sure to place your name and address at the bottom of your email. Then be sure to copy it to all members.
Listed Below are the Email Addresses of each member of the House Rules Committee:
Chairman: Rep. Bill Owens, Bill.Owens@ncleg.net
Vice Chair: Rep. Rick Glasier, Rick.Glazier@ncleg.net
Vice Chair: Rep. Dewey Hill, Dewey.Hill@ncleg.net
Vice Chair: Rep. Paul Leubke, Paul.Luebke@ncleg.net
Vice Chair: Rep. Deborah Ross, Deborah.Ross@ncleg.net
Jeff Barnhardt, Jeff.Barnhart@ncleg.net
Rep. Larry Bell, Larry.Bell@ncleg.net
Rep. Harold Brubaker, Harold.Brubaker@ncleg.net
Rep. Jim Crawford, Jim.Crawford@ncleg.net
Rep. Bill Current, Bill.Current@ncleg.net
Rep. Jerry Dockham, Jerry.Dockham@ncleg.net
Rep. Hugh Holliman, Hugh.Holliman@ncleg.net
Rep. Julia Howard, Julia.Howard@ncleg.net
Rep. Verla Insko, Verla.Insko@ncleg.net
Rep. Maggie Jeffus, Maggie.Jeffus@ncleg.net
Rep. Carolyn Justice, Carolyn.Justice@ncleg.net
Rep. Jimmy Love, Jimmy.Love@ncleg.net
Rep. Danny McComas, Danny.McComas@ncleg.net
Rep. Marian Mclawhorn, Marian.McLawhorn@ncleg.net
Rep. Mickey Michaux, Mickey.Michaux@ncleg.net
Rep. Mitchell Setzer, Mitchell.Setzer@ncleg.net
Rep. Fred Steen, Fred.Steen@ncleg.net
Rep. Thom Tillis, Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net
Rep. Jennifer Weiss, Jennifer.Weiss@ncleg.net
Rep. Douglas Yongue, Douglas.Yongue@ncleg.net