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House | June 25, 2013 | Committee Room | Agriculture

Full MP3 Audio File

We'll start in a minute. We're trying to make sure we got, the bill sponsor is not here so we don't know what he's going to do. While we're waiting for the House Ag today we got Bill Bass, Sergeant at Arms, Patrick Mason, Charles Godwin and BH Howell and for our pages we've got William Baggett from Johnson, Daughtry is the sponsor, John Boswell from Pitt, Brown is the sponsor, Madison Chadwick from Union, Arp is the sponsor, Chase Cockran from Union, Tillis is sponsor and Arianna Flaherty from Halifax, I probably muddled her name good. [long pause] Alright. The sponsor is on the way. We'll knock off a few points for being late in case we don't like his bill. We have a PCS today so can I have a motion? George Cleveland moves that we add a PCS before us? All in favor say aye. All opposed no. Senator Newton, we're ready. Have you got your breath yet? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do and I apologize to this Committee for the confusion on my part alone for the delay in being here and I sincerely apologize and appreciate you all hearing this. In all candor I have not reviewed the PCS. I think I might have missed that and I apologize. Again it would be my fault. If it would be okay I'll ask staff to go through it [SPEAKER CHANGES] We'll do that. Staff. Deborah's going to handle it for you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Senator Newton. The PCS makes several changes to the second edition of the bill. First of all, language concerning rules on navigation. The PCS before you actually takes language back to that which was included in the first edition which makes all navigational rules infractions except for the rule on navigational lighting which would be a Class 3 misdemeanor. It also removes a provision that would have changed the penalty applicable to vessels slowing to no-wake speed for law enforcement. This change was made in the second edition and it's removed so that it no longer has a penalty change. Also there is a new penalty that's included in Senate Bill 636 concerning taking of elk and the PCS before you would remove language about state-owned land. Another change was made in the second edition to require court costs for infractions and that language has been removed so that court costs will not be applicable. Most of these provisions in the bill concerning violation of rules are now infractions so there will not be any court costs associated. Those are the changes in the PCS. I'm happy to run through the bill in its entirety if that would be of interest. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. I appreciate, this was brought to me by the Wildlife Commission and there's been a lot of discussion on these changes in the Senate side and around the table. I'm not aware of any opposition to it and most of these changes in the PCS, or I should say all of these changes in the PCS were a result of further conversation after it passed the Senate. So I'll be happy to try to answer any questions

kids if I can, but I hope it's self-explanatory. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Questions? Representative Waddell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. I just got one brief question, just for clarification. On page three item number 11 on the voter safety. You've got the…provides proof that he or she is was born before January the 1st, 1988. Before it was 26 years old. Is that set in a prior time…I know it was set in a prior time but is it not allowing people that are 26 years old anymore, because that will be a floating number. Next year it will be I'm making myself as clear as mud… [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. I appreciate it, Representative Waddell. I'm not sure why we changed it that way. I think that's a very good question. Honestly, I can't remember why… [SPEAKER CHANGES] Someone, ?? commission that could answer that for us? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes Mr. Chairman, I thank you. My name's Chris Dylan with the Wildlife Resources Commission. When that provision for requiring voter safety was first enacted that said anyone under the age of 26 would have to take voter education, that number floats. So, if I was born in '78, it would be '79, '80. And what we're trying to do is put a hard number that this is the cutoff date for everyone else. Because our numbers have found that actually the highest rates of accidents are people in their 40s. So we're trying to get eventually everyone will have to take it in the future but we're creating that hard date of '88 as the date where people have to take it from then on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions? Representative Lucas. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair. Question for the Senator ?? I don't know who might be able to answer this but on page four, on line 37, and D1, the taking of ?? and getting permission to possess on that animal, quite often one might shoot a deer on permitted land, and, you know if you've deer hunted before, you know that that deer doesn't always expire at this point. He may go couple of miles. Onto posted property. And if they lease, lessee, or the owner of the lessee is not available, what does one do? Do you just leave it and let the animal lie there? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Representative Lucas. If I, I'm hoping that somebody from the Wildlife Commission may be able to help clean this up if I answer it wrong. But, from my memory of the Land-Air Protection Act that we did in the last session I think this provision was consistent with that in terms of the language. And I'm getting nods in the back as to yes, and so as far as how you answer the question about what are they supposed to do, as I recall form that in my own experiences I think that it pretty much is just supposed to be, you're supposed to get permission to go get that deer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, you may. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So if one is not able to obtain information I guess the answer is then you just wasted an animal. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think Mr. Dylan may have a better answer than I'm giving right now. Or at least add to it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] OK. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, again, Chris Dylan with the Wildlife Resource Commission. Representative we're not changing the law on what the offense is. That's already trespassing when you go on someone else's property and that was cleared up in the Land Air Protection Act because it's posted property. What we're doing is in the offense when you take an animal on someone else's posted property it's an aggravating factor so we're increasing the penalty. So we're not making it illegal, it's already illegal, but our constituents have come to the commission and to our officers in the field and just to let you know that's where most if not all these changes come from was officers in the field coming up and saying these are the other, charges that need to be in-

...increase or decrease in penalty. That came directly from the constituents on, if somebodies on my posted land taking my deer, I want to hit them a little harder. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chairman Dixon? Thank you, Mr. Chair. This is for Mr. Dillon, also. Has the commission done an estimate of what amount of money the additional increases in fines will generate and what for what purposes those funds will be used? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, those fines do not come to us. Those go to the local school system, so we would not see any increase in any fines through this legislation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What is the expected increase in revenue? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, I think staff may have a physical note on it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do not believe there was a fiscal note prepared. Typically when it involves misdemeanors as opposed to felonies. A felony requires an incarceration, but misdemeanors do not. So to my knowledge, there has not been a note prepared. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One last follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I suppose, then, that the, putting the additional higher penalties is an effort to curtail these kinds of things from happening? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. We wouldn't see any benefit from the reduction or increase in fines, but we would hope that those, a constituent would think before he would act out in the field. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Starnes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator Newton. I'm looking on page 2 and lines 16 and 17, and it's talking about the $250 fine for boating while under the influence. Is there another statute that deals with this or is this the only penalty? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe that this is the only penalty. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Staff have any other answer on that one? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe that's correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Would just to comment, then. We recognize that driving on the highways while intoxicated is a very serious offense, but the waterways have become so crowded, that's also a serious offense and we've all seen incidences where there have been severe boating accidents and wrecks and people have been killed because of driving of a boat drunk. And it just seems like that's a pretty light fine and I just didn't know if, and it appears it's mostly new language. I didn't know if it had come through your Senate committee and you all felt that was an appropriate punishment for boating while under the influence. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Jennifer? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Actually, Representative Starnes, it looks like it's new language but if you look at lines 14 and 15, that provision, I believe, was grouped in with others in a Class II misdemeanor. So now you've got the changes specifying that the fine has to be not less than $250, but I believe it was a Class II misdemeanor to begin with under existing law. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My question to the Senator is, is that punishment seem appropriate for some of the more egregious natures of that crime? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Representative Starnes, I think the best way to answer that is that I think that that setting out as a Class II misdemeanor and setting out the fine to be a minimum of $250 is really not that different from some of the other offenses that we have for driving while impaired for first time offenders with unaggravated situations. It is different, I can't recall what it is off the top of my head, but certainly this, there could be other charges that could come along of it with an incident that was more serious and more damaging like you describe where somebody gets killed. There...

There could be other charges in addition to this. So that would just be the minimum fine and that it would be a class 2 misdemeanor if that you know, you get pulled over at a check and they determine no accident is what I'm getting at. So I mean I'm not opposed to in a different vehicle if we think that needs to be strengthened I don't have any personal opposition to working on that. But as Jennifer said this isn't really changing what we already have. [Speaker Change] Representative Starnes you might make your ?? a little comfortable. This has got to go to judiciary before it goes to the floor. [Speaker Change] I understand that but I also I'd note that with the fees it's gonna have to end up in finance eventually. [Speaker Change] Representative Presnell. [Speaker Change] Yes thank you. On page 4 line 30 it talks about the elk. We've got a lot of elk that come down out of the Smokey's and go into Haywood County and they are eating the hay that is put up there for the people's for their cattle. If they have a license can they kill that elk if that elk is on their property? [Speaker Change] Would you like Chris to answer that? [Speaker Change] I do need to ask though while the commission is up the elk portion is not something that I have a lot of familiarity with. [Speaker Change] Chris. [Speaker Change] Thank you Mr. Chairman. [Speaker Change] The elk in North Carolina are a great thing and we are having some problems in other areas. We've been working with the community up there very intently with fencing and other ways to protect crops from loss. But right now there is no mechanism to kill an elk legally in North Carolina. Hopefully at some point in the future we will have a herd that'll be huntable or that you can get a depredation permit for. But at this point no you will not be able to shoot an elk that is taking any property from you. [Speaker Change] Representative McNeill is next. [Speaker Change] Yes thank you. This question may be for staff. I know in the budget the budget reduces a lot of the violations to infractions. Has anybody looked to see if this conflicts with any of those that are in the budget? [Speaker Change] Thank you Representative McNeill. [Speaker Change] If I may Mr. Chairman. I ask Jennifer to explain that because we have taken a look at that. [Speaker Change] Representative we are aware of those provisions in the budget given the budget is pending as well we will continue to monitor the two provisions to make sure that once one is enacted it does not conflict with the other. [Speaker Change] Thank you. [Speaker Change] Representative Ramsey. [Speaker Change] I just wanted to add on the provision regarding the elk. I wanna thank the bill sponsor in wildlife and other legislators for incorporating those concerns. I think the primary concern was right now if you kill an elk on federal lands there's one penalty. If you go off the federal lands there’s a different penalty so we shouldn't treat folks differently just depending on where that boundary is. And certainly I think wildlife has done a excellent job working with landowners and farmers to where there are concerns up there, and I think that process will continue. [Speaker Change] Thank you Representative Ramsey. Anyone else? Representative Cleveland. [Speaker Change] Thank you Mr. Chairman. I'd like to go back to the problem that Representative Lucas posed. Wildlife did not address it, they addressed taking gear on the individual’s property. And I can very easily see someone shooting a deer on legal property and then the deer winding up on someone’s posted property. And I just you know, running around trying to find the owner of the land to get permission to take the deer off the land. I think is well not very sensible first of all. And secondly I think there should be some method in which the hunter can retrieve the deer without fear of being fined $200, or $500. Now if wildlife would like to weigh in on that. [Speaker Change] Mr. Chairman ?? [Speaker Change] If I could. [Speaker Change] Yes. [Speaker Change] And then I think the colonel may be able to add something to it. Representative Cleveland I appreciate the question and the concern that you and Representative Lucas have raised.

and my memory is coming back to me more and more as I stand here and answer questions about some of these things. As I recall and I'm sure ?? will correct me if I state this wrong from the Landowners Protection Act there's a mechanism to where the person who gets cited for that can basically produce the permission after the fact in order to have a charge dropped or eliminated. I would tell you anecdotally and in my experience most hunters that are hunting deer that would have the experience of the deer being shot on land where they were entitled to be and running on the land where it was posted most of those hunters are going to know those landowners or know who they are or usually have some relationship with them, hopefully a good one, and under most circumstances that's not going to present a problem. They've either got their phone and can call them or they got permission already kind of verbally ahead of time, look if the deer ever runs over there you can get it, but the problem we're trying to address here is that you have a lot of people who are taking deer on posted land and what they're saying is oh it just ran over there and I went to go get it. And that's the problem we're trying to address here because these are the complaints that they're getting. I'm certain if we have complaints along the line of what you're concerned about then there's things that we can do in the future but under the old legislation, that really shouldn't be an issue. If they've got legitimately the ability to go over there and get that deer that shouldn't. Furthermore, Wildlife has a lot of discretion here. They typically know the landowners and a lot of times the people that are a problem they already know they're a problem and had that experience and they can sort that out. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Does Wildlife have anything to add to what the Senator said? [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? with Wildlife Commission. Senator Newton represented that very well. We do have an affirmative defense for the Landowner Protection Act. In other words you can get the permission after the fact and we will accept that. What we encourage hunters to do is to make those contacts before that actually occurs and what we have found is there are just some people that just don't want people on their property and so we're very reluctant to advocate that someone has the ability to go on someone else's property without their permission. And this particular bill is addressing deer that are unlawfully taken on posted property. It's not just a matter of a deer running on to posted property. We're looking for people that are hunting out of season primarily. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions? If not I'm ready for a motion. Representative Pittman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chair if I could ask a question of ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] You may. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Just for clarification, there are a few places that I hunt that have no idea ?? property or surround it. From what you were just saying it sounds like if I make a good faith effort and couldn't find the property owner I could go and get the deer. I just better not get caught. So I'm wondering about that. Because I tell you, Ken ?? was a good friend of mine and he could tell you if I do it I'm doing it legal, trying to at least. And I've had cases where I could have shot a deer across the fence but it's somebody else's land and I didn't do it. I'm not going to do that kind of stuff. But if I shoot it on my side and it goes across the the fence I feel like I would be able to go get it but I'm just wondering how much chance is there that I'm trying to do the best I can I'm still going to get in trouble? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well just speaking very frankly there's a slight likelihood you'll get in trouble. If you're on a piece of property back in the woods, the chances of us encountering you is pretty slim. Unless there's been issues previous to that that we're aware of and that we're actively trying to protect that piece of property. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Whitmire. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair, I'd like to make a motion to at the appropriate time to speak on behalf of the bill. Before I do that

...as far as I know, the appropriate time right now. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, I'll simply say this. You know we all live in different parts of the State and big, big fan of protecting private property rights, but I don't know if we can legislate a perfect solution on this. But I will say this, when we set something enforce like this has, to where if you are hunting near someone, hopefully it's a neighbor or if you're there in the first place, you've got some local knowledge to know who you need to talk to, that helps facilitate so we're not being told by Raleigh what to do and people can respect each other and work out the situation as the situation dictates. As far as the merits of the bill, there's quite a few things that look good. I mean, you know, if you don't have your decals on or one of them flakes off on a Seadoo or a boat, you don't get a Class III misdemeanor. You get an infraction, you get a small, you get a penalty. There's a lot of common sense and practicality that appears to be in this and I guess with it getting its subsequent referrals that some of the items that seem worthy but can be further vetted could be vetted at that point. But that being said, I move that we find Senate Bill 636 favorable with the appropriate referrals on to, I think, Judiciary and then I think I heard Finance, at the appropriate time. The PCS. [SPEAKER CHANGES] This is a PCS, right. Motion should be that we give a favorable report to the proposed committee substitute and unfavorable to the original, but a referral to the Judiciary. You heard the motion. All in favor say aye. All opposed no. The ayes have it and the motion is carried and we're adjourned. [tape ends at 1:44:9]