N.C. Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, listens to state Sen. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, on the Senate floor in April 2011. Photo by Travis Fain.

There’s no shortage of bills coming from Western North Carolina’s legislative delegation–including two of the more colorful and controversial laws working their way through the N.C. General Assembly right now.

Finals votes could come next week on Franklin Republican Sen. Jim Davis’ Opossum Right-to-Work Act, which changes wildlife rules to allow for Brasstown’s annual New Year’s Eve Possum Drop. Votes could also come then on Asheville Republican Rep. Tim Moffitt’s bill to clarify the definition of indecent exposure, dubbed the “Nipple Bill,” which makes it illegal for women to expose their breasts in public.

In all, legislators representing the 18 westernmost counties of the state have sponsored more than three dozen bills as of Wednesday, Feb. 21. See below for a listing and links to each bill for which the lawmaker is listed as a primary sponsor.

Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville), the primary sponsor of 13 bills, has been the most prolific this session among WNC legislators. He’s followed by Rep. Mike Hager (R-Rutherforton) and Moffitt, who are both primary sponsors of nine bills each.

Apodaca, chair of the Senate Rules Committee, is listed as primary sponsor of several key initiatives in the first month of the session, including bills to reject a state-run health exchange and the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and the Government Reorganization and Efficiency Act, a controversial move by the Senate to allow the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory to replace all sitting members of numerous state boards and commissions.

One of the main regional efforts introduced so far this session — in a bill sponsored in the House by Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D-Waynesville) and in one sponsored in the Senate by Apodaca — funds construction of a new Western Crime Lab. Other local and regional legislation includes a bill sponsored by Rep. Michele Presnell (R-Burnsville) to give greater flexibility in setting school calendars to Haywood, Madison and Yancey counties; an Apodaca-sponsored bill to amend rules on Henderson County fire districts; a Davis-sponsored resolution honoring the founders of Hayesville for the town’s 100th anniversary; and a bill repealing the use of steel traps in Cleveland, Polk and Rutherford counties that is sponsored by Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Spruce Pine).

Also, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported this week that Moffitt said he expects to introduce a bill on a merger of the Asheville water system with the Metropolitan Sewerage District by the end of the month.

Four legislators have yet to introduce legislation, including Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt (D-Asheville), Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R-Jefferson), and first-term Reps. Nathan Ramsey (R-Fairview) and Josh Dobbins (R-Nebo), who was appointed on Jan. 29 to replace Rep. Mitch Gillespie, who resigned to accept a position at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The following is a listing of bills for which a legislator representing one of the 18 westernmost counties is listed as a primary sponsor.


Rep. Mike Hager (R-Rutherfordton)

H11 Special Election Dates

H17 Gun Permits/Restaurants & Confidentiality

H27 Workers’ Comp Fund/Safety Workers Allocation

H33  Cleveland/Polk/Rutherford Trapping Repeal

H66 Captivity License and Permit Amendments.-AB

H118 Consular Documents Not Acceptable as ID

H119 Natural Gas/Rate Adjustment Mechanism

H120 Building Inspections/Local Consistency

H126 Joint Resolution Requesting Balanced Budget

Rep. Chuck McCrady (R-Hendersonville)

H8 Eminent Domain

H28 Henderson County Fire Districts

H89 DENR Support for Regional Water Supply System

H94  Amend Environmental Laws 2013

H135 Adjust Landfill Permit Fee Timing

H136 Bernard Allen Fund Modifications

Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-Asheville)

H6 NC Right to Work/Secret Ballot Amendments

H13 State Agency Property Use/Biennial Report

H34 Clarify Indecent Exposure Law

H53 NC Right to Work/Secret Ballot Amendments

H74 Periodic Review and Expiration of Rules

H101 Repeal Estate Tax

H104 Charlotte Regional Airport Authority

H110 Public Contracts/Project Labor

H119 Natural Gas/Rate Adjustment Mechanism

Rep. Michele Presnell (R-Burnsville)

H121 School Calendar Flexibility/Certain Counties

Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D-Waynesville)

H39 Western Crime Lab Funds

Rep. Roger West (R-Marble)

H66 Captivity License and Permit Amendments.-AB

H90 Honor Hayesville’s 100th Anniversary


Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville)

S1 Senate Permanent Rules

S2 Adjournment Resolution

S3 Western Crime Lab Funds/Amend Evidence Laws

S4 No N.C. Exchange/No Medicaid Expansion

S7  Honor Don East

S10 Government Reorganization and Efficiency Act

S15 Honor Jean Preston

S46 Election of UNC Board of Governors

S47 State of the State speech

S48 Henderson County Fire Districts

S69 Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Plate

S108  Building Inspections/Local Consistency

S110 Amend Permanent rules/resolutions

Sen. Jim Davis (R-Franklin)

S60 The Opossum Right-to-Work Act

S77  Honor Hayesville’s 100th Anniversary

Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Spruce Pine)

S80  Cleveland/Polk/Rutherford Trapping Repeal

Sen. Dan Soucek (R-Boone)

S14 Increase Access To Career/Technical Ed

S41 Honor Boy Scouts

Correction: Rep. Tim Moffitt’s name was misspelled once in a previous version of this story. The story has also been updated to include Rep. Chuck McGrady’s bill sponsorship.

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Kirk Ross was the former capital bureau chief for Carolina Public Press. To contact the Carolina Public Press newsroom, email info@carolinapublicpress.org.

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