Big Progress on Native Plants, Family Land Protections at the Legislature

We still have a long way to go, but Audubon advocates helped notch early wins for birds.

Great news for birds keeps rolling in at the North Carolina General Assembly. From native plants to conservation on family land, important bills have passed critical hurdles at the legislature, thanks to Audubon advocates who spoke up. These bills aren’t across the finish line, and we haven’t seen significant action on clean energy yet, but there are still wins worth celebrating at this stage. 

But first, a little Schoolhouse Rock info for you: Earlier this month, the legislature passed its “crossover deadline,” which basically means new bills can no longer be filed for the current session. We saw positive action on bird-friendly bills before this deadline, and are still advocating for clean energy progress through other avenues in the weeks and months ahead. 

Native Plants 

Senate Bill 628, filed by Senator Bill Rabon, would be the strongest native plants legislation ever in North Carolina, ensuring native trees, shrubs, and flowers are used for landscaping on state property from Murphy to Manteo. Audubon advocates spoke up in a big way to support this bill—we hand-delivered more than 2,400 petition signatures to the legislature earlier this month, shortly before the Senate passed the bill with a 46-2 vote. 

The bill still has a long way to go—it has to pass the House—but the Senate vote was a major milestone and great news for the birds that depend on North Carolina’s native greenery, from the longleaf pine to flowering dogwood. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, there’s still time! We need more signatures before the House votes. Sign it and share it with a friend today. 

Protecting Family Landowners and Birds 

A bill that would protect birds and the rights of family landowners passed the House last month, after a lot of hard work from Audubon advocates, our partners, and the bill sponsors. House Bill 367 would help family landowners hold on to their farms and forests and open access to much-needed conservation programs. 

Audubon advocates have been speaking up about this issue for a year—at Advocacy Day this year and in 2020—and all of that advocacy is making a difference. Learn more about heirs property owners, and stay tuned for updates as the bill heads to the Senate. 

Clean Energy 

One thing that didn’t happen before the crossover deadline was the introduction of a significant, viable clean energy bill. But don’t worry! We’re working hard to set the stage for significant action on this issue through other avenues. 

Whatever clean energy proposals emerge need to be significant enough to meet the crisis at hand, and we’ll be keeping close tabs on things to make sure we’re able to make our voice heard. In the meantime, you can sign and share our clean energy petition, so we’re ready to take action  

Conservation Trust Funds 

We should get a first look at budget numbers soon. As always, we’ll advocate for conservation funding, and we’ll keep you posted on how you can make a difference. 

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