#ncga Monkey Business Report: John Bell’s ‘fishy’ bill

House majority leader John Bell is a nice guy.  (I’ve actually talked with him.)  You want to like him. You want to believe what he says.  But then you remember — HE’S IN LEADERSHIP.  Choir Boys and Boy Scouts don’t make it to the top of the ladder on Jones Street. 

This story all gets started with an angry Facebook post by a Tea Party leader from the coast:


That committee hearing she references?  My moles tell me Rep. Larry Yarborough — a co-sponsor of HB867 — pitched the bill to the committee while Bell sat in the back of the room watching and smiling like a donkey eating briers. 

When confronted about the contradictions, Bell reportedly tried to claim that — when he spoke to Fink and James — he had no idea the legislation was coming up in front of the committee.  He was in the dark, he said.  (*Show of hands.  How many of you out there believe that the House majority leader is out of the loop on what is moving before committees and onto the House floor?*)

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) is the driving force behind this legislation.  The CCA has been very generous with campaign donations to all kinds of Republican politicians in Raleigh.  John Bell and NCGOP chairman Robin Hayes are just two of the NCGOP leaders in Raleigh who are closely tied to the CCA.   

CCA’s forces see commercial fishing — an important economic activity on the state’s coast — as a direct threat to its membership’s enjoyment of recreational fishing.  Grassroots leaders along the coast see this move by the CCA — and the politicians they have subsidized — as a direct attack on the region’s small family businesses.

Here’s Raynor James, with the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers’ Association, and his two cents on Bell’s legislation:

So, it appears we have the alleged pro-capitalism, pro-business ‘conservative revolution’ working hand-in-glove with deep-pocketed special interests to move self-sufficient, hard-working small business-people from productivity to the unemployment and social services lines.  What’s a few more unemployed souls when the checks are flowing to that campaign fund? 

44 thoughts on “#ncga Monkey Business Report: John Bell’s ‘fishy’ bill

  1. Bell is a good guy, fairly conservative, and represents his district well. Hate to see him side with the CCA.

    1. Is selling out our women and girls to repeal the bathroom privacy law, HB2 representing his district well? Is voting for special interest legislation that will jack up our electric rates to pander to the solar energy special interest representing the district well? No, I didn’t think so! Nor were his positions on these issue conservative. John Bell is a special interest Republican or RINO.

    2. Its deeper than siding with them. I fear he is either one of them or it is All in the Family, if you know what I mean. Its not merely a blind spot. His rhetoric of “learn to share the resource” and “I’m sick of fishing issues” is now laughable. He’s so sick of it he can’t stop from injecting himself with dose after dose…yeah…right.

  2. You nailed this Haymaker! When so-called conservative legislators screw over the small, family, generational businesses on the coast to please the well-heeled lobbyist, we might as well elect Democrats.

  3. It all started, here in N C, when the CCA migrated up from Florida. They $convinced$ Jim Hunt to appoint an attorney ,Bob Lucas, to be the Chairman of the Marine Fisheries Commission.
    I have been a fly on the CCA’S wall since before they officially arrived in our State. Most of the old timers many of them friends of mine have faded. Most of them were ashamed of what they had started BTW. Rightfully so.
    The present day National CCA is much more viscious than it pioneers in Texas and Louisiana , but that is because they have met much more viscious resistance from the working fishermen.
    Money and politics have proven to be a most formidable weapon to the commercial fishing industry . The only thing that stands a chance against this weapon is truth, common sense, sound science,, and correct recognition of right from wrong. At this point it becomes a moral issue.
    Can one actually believe that it is wise to deplete our State of the ability to feed itself and others the fresh seafood that God has provided us? Trust me, that is the goal of the CCA. State by State they have marched. What belongs to all is what the CCA wants control of. That being the coastal waters and 3 miles beyond for their playground.
    ” What kind of person would want their pleasure to interfere with another persons livlihood?” What kind of $legislator$ would aid$ that mindset of individual? It is so disappointing that Robin Hayes has been the “WHIP” for the CCA.

    Browny Douglas

    1. Excellent questions Browny:
      What kind of person would want their pleasure to interfere with another person’s livelihood?
      What kind of $legislator$ would aid$ that mindset?

      1. Browny I too have witnessed the CCA in Ga where they actively conned the General Assembly into yielding their authority of all saltwater to the Coastal resources Division of the DNR.
        Many of the people I spoke to during the Ga Red Fish “Crisis” #1,#2,#3 were also ashamed of what they blindly supported that returned to kill liberty in the name of fake science and back door revenue..
        Now my party members are bombing my email this AM asking what in the hell our Rep Larry Yarborough is doing in this.

        Chris Weaver
        Person GOP Ch.

        1. Oh! Yarborough smells as bad as Bell in this, he’s just out front about it. He’ll tell all kinds of “fish stories” about fisheries management riddled with falsehoods but at least he makes his position known. Bell apparently will look you right in the eye and tell you what you want to hear and then do what he wants to do. Primary Yarborough!

          1. Might happen, time will tell. I learned in Wilmington that he’s not very popular with the GOP activists in either of the counties he represents (as you can see above), for reasons that likely have nothing to do with fishing.

  4. How does lifting restrictions on recreational fishing hurt commercial fishing?
    I was also told by Rep. Boles that we are the only state on east coast that has these types of restrictions.
    Just asking questions for better understanding.

    1. No, we are just The only state on the East Coast that hasn’t fallen for the CCA rhetoric. This bill has nothing to do with lifting a ban on recreational fishing. Don’t know why Representative Boles would say something like that. Moore County has its own problems.

  5. You forgot to mention that Rep. Bell has a huge plaque on his wall designating him as the 2015 Legislator of the year – presented to him by – wait for it. . . CCA.

    Bell is like too many of those we elect. He talks big about conservative principles, the rights of the individual, and the proper role of governmentl when he is running for office. Once he is elected he’s all for picking winners and losers, principles forgotten.

    The people who elected him are not represented by Rep. Bell. He instead represents those who pay the bills. I think there’s a name for those who sell their bodies (and votes) for money.

    1. Craven is in Bell;s district, is it not?. I hope you folks there are working hard on coming up with a solid primary challenger who can take this phony out.

  6. John Bell is little more than a sleazy rent boy for the special interests. Not only is this RINO up to his eyeballs with the radical environmentalists of the CCA who posture as recreational fishermen, but he is also a spear carrier for the corrupt crony capitalist parasites of the solar energy boondoggle and supports policies that raise our electric rates to put money in their pockets. To top it off, Bell sided with the corporate bullies and the Gaystapo against our state’s women and girls when he supported the repeal of the bathroom privacy bill, HB2.

    John Bell is a liberal Republican, and special interest flunky, who very badly needs a primary.

  7. I prefer being represented by a socialist democrat that is out in the open as opposed to #ClosetCommies or #BenevolentFascists of the #NCGOP #PolitburoRepublicans #NCGOPCommunistBloc. #PlannedEconomyRepublicans.

    I recommend certain republicans CYA and get me out of your districts during your next round of #Gerrymandering . I guarantee you can expect opposition to your continued occupation of that seat. I will work feverishly to liberate my district and our people from your icy grip. Unreal. Pitt County gets its best conservatism and defense of freedom from Sen Don Davis.

    1. Pitt County does have a RINO delegation. Louis Pate has gotten softer with every term and now is as soft as a marshmellow. He went very much against the grain of his district to vote to repeal HB2 and open the state to local governments trampling on religious liberty in a couple of years. Are the rumors still out that Pate will retire after this term?

      Then there is Greg Murphy in his first full House term, who has made noises about wanting Pate’s seat according to a former county chairman. Murphy has been a liberal since the day he arrived in the legislature, and is the biggest Obama Republican there. Murphy has sponsored Michelle Obama’s nutty ”food deserts” boondoggle. He has voted for an Obama-style green energy boondoggle. Murphy sponsored one version of the HB2 repeal bill, seeking to advance Obama’s LGBT legacy. Worst of all, he has sponsored a bill for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in North Carolina. When he was seeking the appointment to the vacant House seat, Murphy cited the Medicaid expansion as his main reason for seeking the seat, but was later advised to walk that back. He came on this site, and after a lot of shucking and jiving, vehemently claimed to be against the Medicaid expansion. But now he has gone back to his original position and sponsored a bill to do the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in NC. There is no Democrat in the legislation who is as big a promoter of the Obama legacy as nominal “Republican” Greg Murphy.

      Murphy’s fellow House member Susan Martin follows Murphy’s liberal lead on many issues. She is not out front leading the charge as he often is,, but she is frequently there voting to back him up.

      Pitt County has a lot of work to do to get a Republican delegation that actually represents Republican principles.

  8. Agree, UNJUST to NC Commercial Fishermen. Not following US Mangnuson Stevens Act, Commercial Fishermen provide Seafood from US Waters for all US Citizens to eat and enjoy! I went to the Legislative Advocate for HB 867. It was not discussed in House Committee Wednesday as planned for the meeting. They wanted to not disclose Representatives voting for and against. We wanted to hear the rational science for closing NC Commercial Fishing Industries. What are they hiding? Support NC Commercial Fishermen Thanks!

  9. The CCA does not contribute to politicians nor their campaigns. Their tax status forbids it.

    The bill is not intended nor will it end commercial fishing.

    The bill will improve fisheries management of our inland salt water species with the goal of increasing the populations of these fish and other aquatic organisms. Who ben fits from these increases? Commercial as well as recreational angler So!

    John Bell represents New Bern only because of gerrymandering. That should be Speciale’s district, the homeboy boy for those freedom loving taxpayers. Only problem is New Bern is the home of a large black population who don’t share the love for Speciale.

    1. Are you stupid or do you think we are stupid? Organizations like the CCA never give money out of their own treasuries for the very reasons you describe, but the does not mean they are not buying votes from corrupt legislators. They do this by PACs that are their alter egos and by bundling among their members, where the actual checks are individual checks but delivered in a bundle by a representative of the organization.

    2. Did you just refer to a seated legislator as a “homeboy”? Did you intend that to be disrespectful or are you part of the”mostly Republican ” part of the CCA, as mentioned by your fearless leader, Sneed. You sure don’t sound like you’re being a supportive Republican of Representative Speciale?! You need to sit down and be quiet. You’re an embarrassment.

    3. You leftwing greenies at CCA clearly do not share the love for freedom loving legislators like Speciale either. You prefer the big government apparatchiks.

  10. Yes, Browny, let’s talk about the “truth, common sense, sound science, and correct recognition of right from wrong”.

    I refer you to the NOAA website and the Annual Fisheries Economics of the US report. CCA was founded in Texas 40 years ago: Texas 2015 economic impact of commercial fishing = $966 million, recreational fishing = $1.9 billion.

    Louisiana 2015 economic impact of commercial fishing = $1.6 billion, recreational fishing = $1.3 billion
    Florida 2015 economic impact of commercial fishing = $1.988 billion, recreational = $10.9 billion
    North Carolina 2015 economic impact of commercial fishing = $331 million, recreational = $1.45 billion
    I can go on. Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama all have larger commercial fishing industries than NC, and thriving recreational fishing industries.

    It appears to me this secret CCA plan to put commercial fishermen out of business has had quite the opposite effect. States with a conservation minded approach to fisheries management have both a thriving recreational AND commercial fishing industry.

    CCA NC has supported H867 as a conservation and science based approach to fisheries management. It takes the politics out of fisheries management by creating statutory scientific thresholds for management. Please reference specific language that will put commercial fishermen out of business and stop taking about the usual rhetoric.

    The economic study that accompanied this legislation showed a multi-billion dollar impact to our state’s total fishing economy. A growing fishery is needed to insure the future of commercial fishing in NC. Current DMF data indicates only 5 of the 22 state managed finfish and shellfish in NC are considered Viable. Status quo under the 20 year old FRA 97 means only more of the same.

    Truth and common sense.

    1. She would be a great choice, a solid conservative unlike the incumbent who is liberal on so many issues.

  11. Really, David Sneed, President of CCA and Tim Hergenrader, screeching icon of CCA defending this outrage? Did it seriously takes someone 24 hours to get a hold of you to write a defensive response? You both should be ashamed of yourselves. But, then again, that would require a conscience. Just because the CCA doesn’t donate money specifically, their membership, which IS the CCA, does! If your membership was public then everyone would know where the money comes from and… the article just said they had close ties, which certainly Representative Bell does! How about we talk about the CCA and the close ties to the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and their close ties to the Southern Environmental Law Center? Folks, don’t believe any statistics you hear from David Sneed or Tim Hergenrader or anyone else from the CCA!!!! No science behind anything coming from that camp!!!

  12. David Sneed, if my memory serves me correctly, you penned back in Nov that prior to the election Pat McCrory ‘s “paid consultants” called the CCA in a “panic” wanting it’s advice as how to “SAVE” the Governor some votes. On Nov 2 he took that advice by making those atomic Marine Fisheries Commission appointments.
    That did not prove to be very good advice for Pat. Did it? He has admitted it didn’t BTW.
    While it did not solely cost the Republicans their Governorship, it did in part aid the loss. That’s the truth because your advice was wrong.

    Your speal of economic numbers from NOAA. Horse $hit. This from the global warmers. LOL Figures can lie because liars can figure.

    Specific language as to putting industry out of business
    Let’s read between the lines and consider your fellow cabal affiliates, (wildlife federation) shrimp ban proposal to limit shrimpers to a THREE day work week. Try that on a farmer, dentist, plumber, most lawyers, or a painter. Truth is, that won’t work well for any of them either.

    I have a question for you, David. Why did the CCA have to engage a fresh sophomore like Rep Yarborough who resides away from the coast and in fact knows NOTHING about the N C coast to cosponsor 837. I mean, he did say that N C has NO FISH.

    Browny Douglas

  13. David Sneed executive director of the NC CCA, I failed to make the point in my afore comment that the advice you did give NC’s past Republican Governor was in the eyes of the CCA no way intended, I repeat NO WAY INTENDED to help the Governor. Instead it was intended to strengthen the choke hold the CCA already had on the Marine Fisheries Commission. It worked. That clearly surfaced when the MFC ignored the advice of 5 advisory panels in reference to the Wildlife Federation’s shrimp ban. Bet you and Robin Hayes are proud of yourselves for pulling that one off.

    Browny Douglas
    Dare GOP Ch

    1. Did McCrory carry Dare Co.? How about Carteret Co.? Or was it just the commercial fishermen in Charlotte and Raleigh that voted him out?

      Anyone with half a brain knows who voted against McCrory.

      And your answer for NOAA commercial fishing economics is to claim they are made up?? So all of those states do not have thriving fisheries? Please point out which ones CCA put out of business.

      And I love all of you on this website calling people out by name while you hide behind a pseudonym. Real heroes.

      1. NOAA, especially under Obama, has been a bent organization, in the hip pocket of the environmental establishment. They have been caught doctoring global warming reports, so it stands to reason that any of their reports are highly suspect. But, of course, a radical environmental organization like the CCA would be okay with all of that. Obama has corrupted a lot more that the IRS and the Justice Department. He has corrupted nearly the entire government..

      2. As you hid behind your title as president of CCA??!???!! Oh, that is right! You failed to mention that part!!!

      3. Thank you for admitting publicly that you have half a brain. I suspect you’re being modest.

  14. You damn right McCrory carried Dare County as he should have, but it should have been by a larger margin and would have if the Governor had not defecated in the face of the fishing industry on Nov 2, 2016. Every vote counts. I said, in part. Remember?

    As to the history of the CCA carnage that you ask about, I refer you to a friend of mine, Robert Fritchey. He has authored not one but two books on that very subject. They are—WETLANDS RIDER and most recently LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL.

    Browny Douglas

    1. Hey Brownie,
      Thanks for the blurb! I hate to see your friends facing the same misery we went through in the 1990s. In 1994, the last year we got to work, we netted almost 23 million pounds of 9 more or less traditional species like mullet, specks, black drum (redfish was one of those traditional species but the “conservationists” had been hogging all of them since 1988 so zero for us.) We also brought in about 500,000 pounds of 11 underutilized species, like rays, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, although that fishery was projected to have grown to about 25 million pounds itself. (This is Louisiana, right?). But instead of growing to a sustainable 40 million pounds, our harvest shrunk to just over 6 million pounds, by 2014 (sheepshead and drum made up over 4 million pounds of that; they’re caught with trawls and trotlines.) Mullet made up 1.2 million; gill nets are still permitted for them, during a few months in the fall only. (We caught 12.5 million in 1994, before the ban, and the fishery was considered to be underutilized.) We had a million-pound quota on speckled trout and, with nets, we just made it. The sportsmen took about 10 million pounds a year yet, in 1995, they got carried away: “Make ’em use rods and reels like we have to use!” So commercial landings fell from just over a million pounds in 1994, to just over a thousand pounds in 2014. The monetary hit to our coastal communities is unbelievable and with the oil industry way down now you can’t miss it. So don’t let anybody tell you that we’re happy campers down here.

  15. Make no mistake! The CCA does NOT represent ALL recreational fishing in this state or any other, for that matter. They just lead you to believe that they do! According to reliable scientific reports, North Carolina is the second in the country behind only Florida for saltwater catch by recreational fishermen. They have been for years. Florida has a much larger coast line as well as a lake system beyond anything North Carolina can expect. The weather is always warm there as well, which does affect fishing. In NC the red drum the CCA said would be extinct by now while lobbying to make it a protected species in 2011, is practically begging to be caught in North Carolina. If Rep. Yarborough can’t catch any fish in NC maybe he needs to change his technique.

    1. Republicans in his district need to change their legislator and dump this sorry ally of the green left radicals.

  16. In 2013, did not Mr. Timothy Hergenrader seek to prohibit any shrimping from inland salt water?

    As one very much unaware of the specifics of the industry, I would ask if that action would be significant enough to put someone out of business?

    Richard Carter Jr

  17. Lots of this isn’t true.

    Commercial fishers refused to meet or walked out of meetings.

    There is no push to get rid of commercial fishing. There is a move to protect fishing resources for both sides.

    When he was asked how this bill would ruin commercial fishing, the Jerry Shill’s response was “I don’t know, but I’m sure that it will”

    The science is there. We need to work together so that we manage the resource properly.

    1. Government management is the essence of classic fascist economics. It is telling that you environmental extremists revealed what you are.

    2. I believe you took his comments out of context. When you don’t have time to answer in detail that’s a perfectly understandable answer. He knows, believe us he knows! he knows, believe me, Jerry knows

  18. Please do not be mean to Rep, John Bell. He is a progressive hero to our hard core environmental movement. Not only is he out there saving the fishes by trying to put those mean ole commercial fishermen out of business, but he is also a green hero for saving the polar bears by trying to make electricity an expensive luxury through expansion of solar and wind power which will make electric rates “necessarily skyrocket” as President Obama pointed out. Bell just voted the progressive position on green energy again just days ago.

    John Bell supports President Obama’s legacy rather than the Republican platoform on so many issues that he is an all round progressive hero. He even supported President Obama’s LGBT legacy by voting to repeal HB2.

    Rep. Larry Yarborough? He is another progressive hero who votes just like John Bell on these major progressive issues. With progressives like these sitting in GOP House seats, we do not even need Democrats to advance President Obama;s legacy in North Carolina.

  19. Hey there, Outlander…

    We have never refused to attend any meeting called by a legislator to discuss fisheries issues. We were in a meeting called by Rep. John Bell and we requested a meeting a couple of weeks ago with some of the sponsors of 867 in John’s office. Don’t be spreading stuff like that when it’s not true.

    We told the committee a couple of weeks ago that 867 is worded very similar to the way other states management is worded that has been very detrimental to commercial fishermen in that state. When a committee member asked me to quantify how, I told him I cannot because it would be guesswork. Since that meeting I received a letter from Florida that provides at least partial answers for that state.

    Here is part of what Jerry Sansom, Executive Director of the Organized Fishermen of Florida said:

    “As for being better off from the “Net Ban”, most of those fishermen have left fishing and a few moved on to others like oysters and clams. For those few who actually “are doing better” they would go back in a heartbeat to what they were doing before and resent anyone asking them if they aren’t “better off”.

    They unnecessarily lost a way of life that was generations old., Some actually committed suicide from the loss by the way, and most still feel an emptiness in their existence.

    The fishing industry is only a shadow of its former self and as we know local seafood is a rare commodity in many places that used to pride themselves in that fact.”

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