AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE TOBACCO GROWERS TO ASSESS THEMSELVES TO PROMOTE THE INTERESTS OF TOBACCO GROWERS. Enacted July 18, 2013. Effective July 18, 2013.
Summary date: Jul 23 2013 - View summary
Summary date: Jun 25 2013 - View summary
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.
Amends GS 106-568.43, concerning the referendum provision of the Tobacco Growers Assessment Act, providing that the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina Inc. (Association) will determine the amount of the proposed assessment and the date by which the referendum ballot must be returned by mail (previously, required the Association to determine the time and place of the referendum, procedures for conducting the referendum and the counting of votes, and other matters pertaining to the referendum). Adds new subsection that provides that the Association will mail a referendum ballot to all known tobacco growers in North Carolina at least three months prior to the due date of the ballot. Requires the Association to, for the greater of three months or 90 days before the date the ballot must be returned, (1) provide a printable referendum ballot on the Association's official website and (2) make hard copies of the ballot available at all county NC Cooperative Extension Service offices. Ballots are required to be returned to the Commissioner of Agriculture by the date set by the Association. Requires the Department of Agriculture to count the votes and report the results to the Association.
Amends GS 106-568.44, concerning the payment and collection of the assessment, making a technical change.
Amends GS 106-568.45, changing the title of the section to Use of Assessments; refunds; annual audit (was, Use of Assessments; refunds). Makes a clarifying change regarding the annual report on the collection and use of assessment funds. Requires the Association to publicly post the annual report on its official website at least 30 days before the Association's annual meeting. Provides that a tobacco grower can request a refund of the assessment funds collected by submitting a written request to the Association postmarked on or before December 31 of the same year (was, by submitting a written request within 30 days from the last date on which the assessment was collected from the grower). Directs the Association to designate a third party to conduct an annual audit of the implementation of this Article. Provides that the Association will designate the time at which the audit can be conducted each year, requiring that the results of the audit must be available before or in conjunction with the annual report.
Summary date: May 14 2013 - View summary
House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes. Deletes the provisions of the 1st edition and replaces them with the following.
Enacts new Article 50D, Tobacco Growers Assessment Act, in GS Chapter 106. Allows the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina Inc. (Association) to conduct a referendum among tobacco growers as to whether to levy an assessment on tobacco sold in the state. Caps the amount of the proposed assessment at $0.15 for each hundred pounds of tobacco. Allows the Association to increase the assessment amount, if the Association sets a lower amount than that approved by referendum, by no more than $0.01, without having to conduct a referendum. Prohibits collecting the assessment unless more than two-thirds of the votes cast are in favor of the assessment. Requires a tobacco buyer to collect the assessment when buying by deducting the assessment from the price paid to the producer. Allows the buyer to keep the assessments until the total amount due to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Department) is at least $25, or until the end of the calendar quarter, whichever comes first. Provides for record keeping. Allows the Association to bring an action to recover any unpaid assessments, plus the reasonable costs incurred in the action.
Requires the Department to remit funds collected to the Association at least once a month. Requires the Association to use the funds to promote the interests of tobacco growers. Allows a tobacco grower to request a refund of the assessment within 30 days from the last date on which the grower paid the assessment; requires the Association to mail a refund within 30 days of receiving a properly documented refund request. Upon a petition by at least 10% of the tobacco growers in the state known to the Association, the Association must conduct a referendum on continuing the referendum. If a majority of the votes are against continuation, or if the referendum is not conducted within six months, the assessment expires at the end of the six-month period. If a majority of the votes cast are in favor of continuing, then no subsequent referendum is to be held for at least three years.
Allows the Association to conduct a referendum at any time after the effective date of the act.
Summary date: Apr 15 2013 - View summary
Requires the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to study the system for promotion of tobacco and assessment of farmers in GS Chapter 106, Article 50C. Requires a report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services on or before January 1, 2015.