Staying Up to Date on North Carolina Regulations (Part One)

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Imagine a steak with a natural hint of blueberry flavor. Far from a myth, professional hunter Steven Rinella mentions it in an episode of his show MeatEater. He may have been filming in Alaska, but we have black bears and blueberries here in North Carolina! I think there is a chance of discovering the mythical blueberry steak here as well.

Before we head outside to the “Land of the Long Leaf Pine”, we may be interested in researching how the 2018 Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment to the N.C. Constitution impacted state regulation of hunting black bears. This blog post uses this topic to review how to track changes to North Carolina administrative law through freely available government resources.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

An agency website is a great place to start your research, and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission regulates hunting in N.C. When looking at their website, we can take notice of a few sections that will be of help, such as the news section, public notices, and proposed regulations. NC-WRC also publishes their own regulation resource, the Regulations Digest. Receiving publications direct from an agency is a reliable way to stay updated; so be sure to check out if there are any RSS feeds, listservs, or similar to sign up for. The Proposed Regulation page has some important links, including one to our next resource.

North Carolina Administrative Code

The North Carolina Administrative Code is freely available to the public. Conveniently, the Proposed Regulation tab from NC-WRC’s website takes us directly to the chapter in the NCAC that includes regulations promulgated by the NC-WRC. Navigating to the section on Bears (15A NCAC 10B .02020), we can review the current law. To see if the law was updated in response to the 2018 constitutional amendment, scroll to the bottom of the regulation and view the History Note for information on any amendments to this regulation. The bear regulation has been updated quite a bit, including since the new constitutional amendment was passed. With this information, we can move onto our next resource to identify what was changed.

North Carolina Register

The North Carolina Register is critical for administrative research and staying up to date. It is where N.C. agencies publish proposed rules, information about them, public hearing information, and the final rule. The North Carolina Register is published twice monthly. The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) offers an email listserv that will notify the recipient that a new issue is up on the OAH’s website. If we use the history notes at the bottom of the bear regulation in the NCAC, we can get a rough estimate of which NC Register issues to look at. Unfortunately, absent some of the large database aids, the process of getting to the exact Register issue will take some time. The NC register does have some helpful finding aids - the beginning of each issue of the Register lists what agencies have proposed rules therein.

I hate to leave at a cliffhanger, can we get those blueberry steaks or not?! In part two of this blog post on NC regulations, we will look at how Lexis+ and Westlaw Edge might make answering our question a bit easier. We'll also reveal the changes to the regulation of bear hunting.

Posted by Nor Ortiz on Thu. April 15, 2021 2:00 PM
Categories: Uncategorized

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