CCTA ON THE MOVE!!!!
Dear CCTA Members and Friends,
Monday, May 6, twelve CCTA members carpooled to Raleigh, and there were at least as many more who wanted to go, but could not due to other obligations.
When we arrived, we met with Representative Michael Speciale (NC House District 3) in the auditorium at the state house. We got there just in time to see and hear Michael and Hazel Speciale giving instructions and stickers (identifying us as being opposed to House Bill 983) to some 400+ people. Wow! And what a nice group. For the most part, they were commercial fishermen. When it came time to form lines to sign in as attendees and to sign up to speak at the hearing, those of us with CCTA were approached by numerous fishermen who thanked us for being there to support them.
I enjoyed being appreciated, but got to thinking about it. There should have been all kinds of freedom loving people there from all over the state. Here is a group of self-supporting people who earn their living from North Carolina waters who are being told that fish that account for roughly 20% of their income will be put off-limits to them in favor of letting only sport fishermen go after these fish with rods and reels. The theory is that this change will beef up the sport fishing industry to a degree that will produce more income to North Carolina.
Can you believe it? This bill chooses to cut off the freedom of hard working citizens to earn a living as they are currently doing it (and in some cases have been doing it for generations) on the theory that the state will be more prosperous overall because of the change.
It sounded like the state's economic interest is more important than the economic interests of some of its citizens.
Didn't we institute government with the notion that its job is to protect our citizens and their God given rights? Apart from that, we delegated other jobs (such as fire protection) that we could do for ourselves, but were more practical and convenient to do collectively.
House Bill 983 gets at least two things horribly wrong.
It's an example of government attacking the rights of individual citizens while granting favors to other citizens. Some protection of rights that is. If that's the best government can do, I'd rather try going it alone.
None of us as individuals has the right to tell our neighbor how he or she can earn a living. Therefore, we could not have delegated that power to our state's government. Therefore, HB 983 is a very flawed, impertinent, arrogant proposal, and it deserves to be defeated.
When we got to the actual hearing, we heard two speakers who opposed the bill and two speakers who favored the bill each give prepared ten-minute statements.
Each of them was well spoken, and Jerry Schill who spoke "against" did a particularly good job.
Later, each person who had signed up got two minutes to speak his/her mind. The speakers were about 2 to 1 "against." (In terms of attendees, the odds looked better than that for folks who wanted to "kill the bill.")
Many of these talks were obviously heartfelt. We were hearing from folks whose livelihood is being threatened. Some were skilled speakers. Some were not, but some of them were among the most poignant.
From our CCTA group, Chairman Rick Hopkins, Hal James, and I spoke.
Rick began by welcoming our Representatives to The People's House, and thanked them for seeking to hear from us.
Hal reminded people of the way North Carolina had once referred to itself as "First in Freedom," and explained that CCTA supports individual freedom - that we favor minimum government and maximum freedom, and that we want free enterprise to flourish, and because of all those things, we support the commercial fishermen, and want this bill to be defeated.
I mentioned some of the ideas expressed in this email, said that I expected that the Representatives among us were probably surprised at how much controversy the bill had ginned up, that I thought there was a better way, and asked them to protect our freedoms.
The hearing wrapped up just before 4 PM. We went to visit with Michael and Hazel, and Rick presented Michael with a certificate of appreciation for his service to CCTA as its Chairman.
I believe Representative Speciale thought the hearing went well and that the bill may very well die in committee. IWe will keep you posted on HB 983.
Many thanks to all who participated! Check out the pictures below!
Raynor James, CCTA's NC Watchdog Sub-Committee Chair)