A mother opossum carries her babies on her back as she makes her way back to her den after a night out in a neighborhood on the far eastside of Indianapolis, Friday, May 12, 2000. (AP Photo/John Harrell)
It's not every day North Carolina's legislature takes up a bill involving the fate of captive nocturnal marsupials, so lawmakers figured they might as well have some fun.
The "Opossum Right-to-Work Act" introduced Wednesday gives the state explicit authority to permit the organizer of a New Year's Eve Possum Drop to display a wild-caught animal. By tradition, the trapped opossum is suspended in a tinsel-covered box and gently lowered to the ground at midnight, then released.
A judge agreed in November with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that such a permit was improper under state law, so legislators are changing the law.
Co-sponsor Sen. Stan Bingham, a Davidson County Republican, said that after years of budget shortfalls and other serious issues, it's high time for a little levity.
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