Senate passes bills to allow hunting with silencers, require cursive writing instruction
Posted April 25, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Hunters would able to be, as Elmer Fudd might say, "vewy, vewy quiet" under a bill that cleared the state Senate Thursday.
Senate Bill 201 would allow hunters to use suppressors, what many people colloquially call silencers, while in the woods. The devices decrease the amount of noise a rifle makes when a shot is fired.
The measure first came up for a vote on the Senate floor Monday night, where it was pilloried by Republicans and Democrats alike. Sen. Jerry Tilliman, R-Randolph, said he worried about being able to hear people who were hunting on his property.
"If they had suppressors, I probably wouldn't know they were there," Tillman said Monday night, saying that could present a safety issue.
However, on Thursday, Republican opponents of the bill were mostly silent.
Sen. Shirley Randleman, R-Wilkes, explained that those who wanted a suppressor had to go through a lengthy federal process, including paying a tax and submitting a fingerprint card.
The bill, she said, would let hunters prevent hearing loss by dampening the noise of their weapons. As well, she said, a quieter shot would be less likely to scatter packs of nuisance animals, like feral hogs, who farmers frequently want to eliminate.
Sen. Michael Walters, D-Robeson, still objected to the measure, saying it could present a safety issue to farm hands and forestry workers and others who make a living outdoors.
"We have to protect our workers and our family farms and our families," he said.
The measure now goes to the House.
Handwriting bill passes
Senators also passed a bill that would require that cursive handwriting and multiplication tables be taught in public elementary schools.
The measure is virtually identical to a bill that has already passed the House. However, in order to be sent to Gov. Pat McCrory, the same version of the bill must be passed by both chambers.
Asheville water bill gets change
A bill that would turn Asheville's water system over to a regional authority got a slight modification Thursday before being sent back to the House, where the measure originated.
The bill allows other local governments around the state to create regional water and sewer authorities. However, Wake County lawmakers wanted assurance that their cities and towns would not be forced to participate in any such agreements. So, Senators added a provision to the bill that said, with the exception of the Asheville system, all cities and counties in an area would have to agree to form a regional authority before one could be created.
"If that had been followed in (Asheville's) case, you wouldn't hear a peep out of me," said Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe. However, he objected to Asheville and Buncombe County being forced to turn over the city's water system to a regional authority that would include neighboring Henderson County and small towns.
"You don't start a regional agreement and get everybody's water and sewer tied up in it in a shotgun marriage," Nesbitt said.
Although he often spars with his Republican colleague Tom Apodcaca, of Henderson County, on western North Carolina issues, Nesbitt reserved his ire for House lawmakers from the area. The Democrat said that Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, was being mean-spirited by pushing this bill.
"I don't think he (Moffitt) is as interested in getting anything done as he is in punishing Asheville," Nesbitt said.
Moffitt was not immediately available to comment.
The measure now returns to the House, which must agree to the Senate changes before the measure heads to McCrory.