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.


  • Rick

    Thanks Bev, You’re fired.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 5:05 am
  • WombatNC

    Bev Bagwell – one and done!! She does NOTHING for our district and only has the interests of outsiders in her purse.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 7:11 am
  • Corolla Resident

    I’m sure now that the big-box stores won’t have to foot the cost of the more expensive bags, all of us residents on the OBX will see our prices go down. Otherwise, how is this repeal to the benefit of the resident population? I’m not aware of any official polls, but this doesn’t “feel” like the will of the people.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 7:39 am
  • Jack McCombs

    I rarely react to political events but this new law has really earned a reaction. Without regard to political affiliation, income level, residence location, gender, or any other differences among our local population the plastic bag ban was supported by the vast majority. Even most of our commercial businesses supported or at least remained neutral about the ban. This means the elected two who represent us in Raleigh not only did not represent the vast majority they actively initiated and supported repeal of the ban. I won’t speculate about their motivation although I’m certainly thinking about that motivation. My thoughts about what to do: (a) in the short term be vocal with our county elected officials and encourage them to take action which should include a local ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic bags in the county, and (b) in the long term vote Boswell out of office as she has not represented her constituents, but apparently some other group or interest.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 8:03 am
  • Really?

    The bag ban babies are crying today.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 8:06 am
  • Surfman

    I propose that going forward every plastic bag we see on the beach, around animals, blowing in the wind or laying in the street be designated as a “Boswell Bag”.

    She’s earned the honor and deserves proper credit for bringing back litter, endangering animals and degrading our area.

    Congratulations Bev.

    BOSWELL BAGS. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 8:06 am
  • Selena K

    Now that we’re used to bringing our own bags and/or using paper bags when necessary, it’ll be easy enough to simply NOT USE the plastic bags.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 9:15 am
  • chaser

    Hope Bev the Bag lady doesnt get any plastic in her yard.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 9:26 am
  • Just Jack

    maybe Bev’s face will be on one of the sea turtles that has a placstic bag wrapped around its head. I agree Rick, Bev your are fired…

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 10:02 am
  • Willard Whyte

    What a bunch of whiners! The West is on the verge of Nuclear conflict with North Korea and these crybabies are in an emotional meltdown over plastic bags! I guess the thought of millions of our fellow country reaching 10,000 degrees fahrenheit isn’t as important as getting our groceries in a paper/plastic bag! Ignorance is bliss!

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 12:44 pm
  • Dan

    I would suggest that those that want to protect our oceans and better our environment through political action pick something a bit more meaningful and urgent than trying to ban the use of plastic bags in local stores. To me the bag-ban attempt seems little more than an environmental feel-good movement with very the little environmental payoff potential on the upside and much more downside effect in increased business costs that will be passed on to all customers. Besides, how would the ban prevent thousands of tourists from bringing many thousands of plastic bags to the Banks every year? And what would prevent those already in the ocean from elsewhere from washing up upon our shores? A more practical way to approach this is a major awareness campaign to remind everyone to be kind to our environment and ALWAYS be sure to dispose of bags and containers properly. Lots of polite signage to remind people of this strategically placed. And maybe even a catchy phrase or jingle. And not having to use paper bags in the future may save a tree or two in the bargain. Most everyone wants to protect our environment and resources, but picking what battles are worth fighting and are practical is worth considering also.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 12:45 pm
  • Ozzy3

    Disgusting! I can’t wait until you are voted out Beverly Boswell. I’m proud to say “I did NOT vote for you”

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 1:23 pm


    Friday, Sep 1 @ 2:20 pm
  • Stephen

    Rick, we agree! I have written to her expressing my opposition to this terrible bill. I never received the courtesy of a response in spite of my request for one.
    Outer Bankers should organize to make sure that this she is NOT re-elected.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 2:43 pm
  • Carol Ann

    Can something be passed locally to stop this? Does it take effect immediately? As someone who collects trash from the beach, we definitely need to stop this before all the mess is back in our beach and our trees.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 3:01 pm
  • surf123

    The easy fix is for the governor not to sign the bill making it clear that he is not signing because of the plastic bag issue.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 3:32 pm
  • Pokey's Place

    As a Republican, I continue to be embarrassed….increasingly so.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 3:42 pm
  • Papa John

    What idiots! I can’t remember elected officials passing something that virtually none of their constituents wanted

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 4:11 pm
  • Sunworshiper

    I’m looking forward to using plastic bags like everyone else who lives on the beach in the Carolinas. It’s great to have bold leaders like Bill Cook and Beverly Boswell unafraid to stand up the Plastic Bag Hoax Lobby

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 6:31 pm
  • NotSure

    I’m looking forward to using the thin, degradable bags also. It’s much better for the environment than all those big paper bags that don’t get reused. Democrats love taking things away from the people because they assume everyone is stupid except for themselves. From guns to monuments to bags to vapes, you name it, they ban it.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 10:37 pm
  • 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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