Under the Dome

Possum Drop bill returns

Rep. Roger West’s never-ending fight to allow New Year’s Eve to be celebrated in the mountains by lowering a live opossum in a cage continues in the General Assembly.

The Republican legislator, who represents Graham, Clay and Cherokee counties, filed House Bill 574 on Thursday. It would suspend all wildlife protections for opossums throughout the state from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2 each year.

The battle between the organizer of the annual “Possum Drop” in the Clay County community of Brasstown and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has gone on for years, and involves a tangle of bills and lawsuits. Most recently, PETA sued to stop a state law enacted last year that carved out a special allowance for the event in Clay County around and on New Year’s Eve.

Signing on to West’s bipartisan bill this time are Rep. Mike Hager, a Republican representing Burke and Rutherford counties; Rep. Pat McElraft, a Republican from Emerald Isle, and Rep. Marvin Lucas, a Democrat from Spring Lake.