By Jerry Schill
October 3, 2019
In my last column I said the following regarding this year’s session of the North Carolina General Assembly: “It’s hard to say how long to it will last, but consider it safe to say, through June.”
Well, it’s now September and they’re still in session! However, there was some movement recently when the House voted to override the Governor’s budget veto. The override is now in the Senate and it will take at least one Democrat to break from the fold to pull that off, so it’s unsure what will happen.
H-486 COMMERCIAL FISHING LICENSE REFORMS never got a floor vote in the House. H-483 LET THEM SPAWN, did pass the House and is now in the Senate. Until this “long” session is over, 486 is still technically alive but doubtful that it will go any further. However, 483 will remain alive in the Senate for next year’s short session.
The two bills we favor, S-554 MARINE FISHERIES REFORMS, and S-648 SUPPORT SHELLFISH AQUACULTURE, have had mixed results. S-648 has been signed by the Governor and is now law. S-554 passed the Senate and is sitting in the House where it has had no action in the Rules Committee. It will remain alive for next year’s short session.
The General Assembly has another issue other than resolving the budget impasse, and that’s a recent court ruling regarding redistricting. With that and the uncertainty surrounding the budget, it’s impossible to guess when they’ll get out of town.
Although it’s technically possible that the legislators could consider more action on fish-related stuff, it’s very doubtful. With all the acrimony now in the halls of the legislative building, one might get punched if they would even mention fish!
There were two special congressional elections held recently, one for the Third and the other in the Ninth District. Greg Murphy won in the Third and Dan Bishop won in the Ninth. Greg is currently serving in the NC House and Dan in the NC Senate. Congratulations to both men, as well as thanks to all candidates who ran in those elections!
On a personal note, my wife and I took some time to chill in August, beginning with a wedding in Wanchese. Our Granddaughter, Hailey Willis, married Justin Solitro on August 2nd. While the wedding invitation said the ceremony was in Manteo, I’ve done my best to let the guests and everyone else know the wedding was in Wanchese! I also made sure the guests knew that the shrimp and tuna they were eating was domestic, thanks to B&J Seafood in New Bern, Etheridge Seafood in Wanchese and Tom Thumb Catering.
A couple days after the wedding, Pam & I stocked the freezer with some sea scallops and headed for the hills of Pennsylvania where we enjoyed much cooler weather and very good food, most of it cooked on the campfire. We needed the fire in the mornings to keep warm in the 50 degree weather, then cooked bacon and eggs over the fire in cast iron. Although there were a couple of funerals involved in that trip, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable respite, and enabled us to visit family and friends. The downside was the hurricane prep when we got back home. Our youngest son had a retirement ceremony scheduled at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia on Friday the 6th after 22 years in the Air Force. The ceremony was canceled, but that’s a very small disappointment compared to the plight of those affected by the storm, especially on Ocracoke and Hatteras Island.
Finally, congratulations to Aundrea O’Neal, and Steve Weeks on their marriage September 21st! Mark your calendars for September 21, 2069 for their Golden Anniversary celebration!
Jerry Schill, NCFA Legislative Affairs
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