OBX commissioners fight to keep plastic bag ban

Commissioners also oppose two other resolutions

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WAVY) — Legislation making its way through the North Carolina General Assembly has the support of the state representative for Dare County.

However, Dare County commissioners oppose the three bills, even passing resolutions against them.

House Bills 531, 271 and 265 are sponsored by Representative Beverly Boswell.

“Certainly there are differences of opinion and this is certainly where we have a difference of opinion,” Robert Woodard, Dare County Commission Chairman said.

House Bill 351 would clarify the permitted uses of certain local taxes. Woodard said the structure is effective as is.

“It provides infrastructure and services and by changing that would certainly change the burdens on our individual towns,” Woodard said.

Resolution against House Bill 531

Although in Raleigh and not available for an interview, Representative Boswell did respond to questions for our story through email.

Related to House Bill 351, she explained:

The North Carolina State Auditor’s office, after their recent audit, recommended that the Visitors Bureau seek clarification from the Legislature as to the intent of the 25 percent restricted fund. Most recently, for example, the towns have been unable to get even a small amount of $25,000 from the Bureau to assist in weekend traffic control and backlog at one of the busiest intersections on the Outer Banks. Not many Dare County residents know that our tourist bureau receives annual tax revenues and operates on a budget that is larger than most of the Municipalities in the County. This is a good bill, and as the State Auditor’s office has said, it should be clarified once and for all. This will not harm our tourist economy, and it will help lessen everyone’s local tax burdens.”

House Bill 271 would repeal the ban on plastic bags. That’s a law that’s been around seven years. Woodard says it, too, has been effective.

“Our board is supporting our constituents. We’ve heard overwhelmingly the number of folks that are opposed to repealing this plastic bag ban,” Woodard said.

Resolution against repeal of plastic bag ban

Representative Boswell wrote:

We have a littering problem which is a result of human behavior, not of the products we use. In essence, people cause litter, bags don’t. Needless to say, the bag in and of itself is not the problem – bags flying around the beaches are the problem. Additionally, since this ban went into place, the ban has failed to change consumer behavior as evidenced by the statistics in the DEQ report. Thus, the consumers (visitors) have not adopted the reusable shopping bags as part of their practice, and meanwhile, plastic bags continue to be recovered in these areas at pre-ban rates.”

House Bill 265 would make the Dare County Board of Education elections partisan.

“I’d hate to see partisanship come into play just on a school level that’s just a place that’s not needed,” Woodard said.

Resolution against partisan board of education elections

Representative Boswell wrote:

My view of transparency is that the voters have all the information possible. Approximately 25 of all the school board elections in North Carolina are now elected on a partisan basis. In fact, one of the four counties that I represent, Washington County, already elects their local Board of Education members on a partisan basis. I believe the voters simply have a right to know the political ideology to whom they are electing to the Board of Education.   Additionally, moving the election to November will increase voter participation. Beaufort County actually already elects their local Board of Education members in November. Thus, this bill codifies and improves the consistency of the four counties that I represent.”

House Bill 265 has passed the full House and is now going to the Senate.

The other two bills, HB 271 and HB 351, are still in House committees and there’s no word on when the full House will vote on them.

Stay with WAVY.com for developments.