Bag ban repeal passed; Governor not pleased with overall bill

By on August 31, 2017

The ban on the Outer Banks started in 2009. (Sam Walker)

The General Assembly gave final approval Thursday to a bill that includes a repeal of the nearly eight-year ban on the use of thin plastic shopping bags by most retailers on the Outer Banks.

The provision was added to House Bill 56 earlier this summer by Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, after a separate repeal bill introduced by Rep. Beverly Boswell, R-Dare, failed to advance in the state House.

Boswell reiterated her support of the bill in a text after Thursday’s vote.


The bill will roll back a 2009 ban that initially blocked larger retailers on the barrier islands from Corolla to Ocracoke from using the bags, then expanded the prohibition to all businesses the next year.

Current law requires retailers to offer recyclable paper bags and to give a rebate or other incentive for each re-usable bag a customer uses.

The Senate approved the measure Wednesday and the House on Thursday, mostly on partly line votes, with Cook and Boswell voting in favor.

Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, whose district includes Currituck County, has opposed the repeal since it was originally introduced in the spring. He was excused from Thursday’s session due to a previously scheduled personal appointment and did not cast a vote.

The Dare County Board of Commissioners and the town boards of Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head, along with the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, passed resolutions or sent letters to Boswell and Cook opposing the repeal.


Citizen and small business opposition to the rollback focused mostly on lobbying Cook and Boswell, rather than taking on the larger chains with locations in the area who remained silent on the issue.

The rollback effort had the support of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association and several conservative-leaning statewide groups.

The bill also includes funding to begin studies of GenX, a chemical that’s been found in the Cape Fear River, which supplies drinking water to Wilmington.


It awaits Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s signature, although he expressed his displeasure Thursday with the Republican-led legislature on their decision to advance the bill before adjourning until October.

“A sprinkle of local funds hooked to bad environmental legislation doesn’t help,” Cooper said in a written statement.

Steinburg has been appointed to a select legislative committee to take part in a review of the state’s response to GenX.


  • NotSure

    To anyone here calling Beverly names and threatening her, you are sick and you are the reason republicans are winning big. Keep it up. Go on an antifa march somewhere and stay away from my elected official, Beverly Boswell. I hope someone is watching these comments. The alt left are terrorists when they don’t get their way. The modern day KKK.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 10:42 pm
  • Amy Phillips

    Beverly Boswell and bill cook are emblematic of what is wrong in NC. I would love to know who fills their coffers. Repubs in NC senate and house seem hell bent to do the exact opposite of sound, moral decisions. Those who want plastic bags back may have their way, but guess what, sc—Ing Mother Nature will unleash karma 10 fold. I am sorry for the marine life that will pay the price for plastic proponents’ stupidity. We can’t continue down this road. I assure you it is not sustaining.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 11:00 pm
  • MSgt-OBX

    Just remember the name: Beverly “the Bag Lady” Boswell in November ’18. Don’t bother to write or call her as I have tried on numerous occasions with absolutely no response! She just doesn’t give a thought to those who she is supposed to represent.

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 4:04 am
  • Michael

    Yawn…. Let’s talk about important issues now. Put this behind us. For those so absolutely obsessed with this , take some blood pressure medicine and settle down.

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 5:09 am
  • Michael

    Carol Ann do u pick up trash on Roanoke island? The sounds? We never had a ban over here. Everyone so hush hush on that. I wonder why? Hmmmm

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 5:11 am
  • Michael

    Just jack, your precious sea turtles are fine. There’s thousands in the sounds destroying hard working men’s equipment. There’s been no ban around the sounds and yet they are in record numbers this year. Next point.

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 5:14 am
  • Sean

    To those complaining about us complaining about plastic We’re allowed to complain about our representatives, what they do or don’t do. Replacing the plastic ban is really not that important to daily life. What they are doing is wasting time on trivial laws. With the seats they hold they must do something profound with there seats. And they aren’t doing that.

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 6:41 am
  • Paul

    Dear Boswell,
    I’d like to say thank you for wasting our tax money and thanks for polluting our beaches and killing our sea life.
    Hoping man bags find your front yard,

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 7:56 am
  • Jim

    Sunworshiper, you need to re-read the article and comments and do a bit more research. You are grossly misstating the position of “everyone else who lives on the beach in the Carolinas”. The people and businesses on the NC OBX do not support a repeal of the bag ban.

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 9:24 am
  • Wes Lassiter

    It’s time for us to rid our county of Bill Cook and Beverly Boswell as soon as we can. This is a very real disregard to nature and our planet and they need to be held accountable for this brazen cruelty.

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 11:21 am
  • T.W. Mangrove

    I fully expect the plastic bag haters to buy boxes of the bags online and then spend their nights scattering them around so they can yell “I told you so!”

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 1:22 pm
  • G Larry

    “It’s time for us to rid our county of Bill Cook and Beverly Boswell as soon as we can.”

    Too many people in Dare county voted these people in. If you voted, you can’t now wish they were gone.

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 9:10 pm
  • chilly willy

    Thank you! Now i have something to carry my lunch in to work, those paper bags just werent cutting the mustard!!!!

    Sunday, Sep 3 @ 4:28 pm
  • Greg

    Both Cook and Boswell are lobbyists representing the plastic and petroleum industry. Their campaigns were heavily funded by ALEC and AFP. The GOP majority in Raleigh is essentially a lobbying arm for industries who would pollute. Cook has a long record of doing the bidding of industry by advocating for the proposals of ALEC. He has proposed several irresponsible rollbacks of water quality regulations. We can be happy that is is not going to run again.

    Sunday, Sep 3 @ 5:45 pm
  • Thomas in Jacksonville

    Can they still have a county or city ordinance against these bags? I would also like to see these bags become more biodegradable. While I understand the dislike for these bags I personally I don’t like paper bags. They carry roaches.

    Monday, Sep 4 @ 11:32 am
  • Bev is an enemy of OBX

    It’s not just the repeal. It’s that Bev went against the wishes of the OBX people that voted her into office. Bev sold out. She became a turncoat rat.
    Bye bye Bev. We will never forget, even after you are voted out of office.

    Wednesday, Sep 6 @ 4:36 pm
  • Love a natural beach

    “the people of the OBX ” did not support Beverly in her election bid, and she was treated like a dog by the Dems while she was on the county board. Also, do you people realize there are OUTHER COUNTIES in Beverly’s district? Suck it up, buttercups. Dare County no longer owns the state legislature.

    Friday, Sep 8 @ 5:43 pm
  • Geo

    Bev, Cooke, and Steinburg are enemies of the OBX and its people. there is no positive in allowing the bags and the initial ban should have gone further to include smaller stores. This repeal was partisan pandering by Bev to advance her career in government while shafting the people she is supposed to represent. Does Steinburg not showing up for the vote make him a no vote? No, it makes him a yes vote.

    Wednesday, Sep 13 @ 8:58 am
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