AN ACT TO SET HOURS FOR ONE-STOP EARLY VOTING SITES AND TO REQUIRE COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO SUBMIT AN ANNUAL REPORT ON VOTER LIST MAINTENANCE. Enacted June 27, 2018. Effective June 27, 2018, except as otherwise provided.
Summary date: Jun 27 2018 - View summaryAgriculture, Business and Commerce, Occupational Licensing, Government, Public Safety and Emergency Management, State Agencies, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Commerce, Department of Revenue, Tax, Local Government, Health and Human Services, Health, Public Health, Public Enterprises and Utilities
Summary date: Jun 26 2018 - View summary
The Governor vetoed the act on 06/25/18. The Governor's objections and veto message are available here: https://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/S711Veto/S711Veto.htmlAgriculture, Business and Commerce, Occupational Licensing, Government, Public Safety and Emergency Management, State Agencies, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Commerce, Department of Revenue, Tax, Local Government, Health and Human Services, Health, Public Health, Public Enterprises and Utilities
House committee substitute makes the following changes to 4th edition. Amends Section 6 of the act as follows. Declares the importance of protecting dairy farmers and finds that the United States Food and Drug Administration failed to provide consistent guidance to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and to the dairy industry as to the identity of milk. Declares intention to become a national leader in the preservation of the dairy industry while balancing need to maintain interstate commerce. Amends deadline for plant-based products to cease to be labeled as milk to be within 6 months after the effective date of this section. Previously the deadline was January 1, 2019. This deadline is effective upon enactment into law of a mandatory labeling requirement prohibiting the sale of plant-based products holding themselves out as milk in 11 of a set of enumerated Southern states. Removes Section 13.(a) and 13.(b), which amended GS 105-164.13 to create a sales tax exemption for zoos operated by a qualifying farmer.Agriculture, Business and Commerce, Occupational Licensing, Government, Public Safety and Emergency Management, State Agencies, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Commerce, Department of Revenue, Tax, Local Government, Health and Human Services, Health, Public Health, Public Enterprises and Utilities
House amendments make the following changes to the 5th edition.
Amendment #1 to provide that nothing in Section 6 of the act, concerning the labeling of plant based products as milk, limits the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' authority to enforce its laws and regulations.
Amendment #2, as amended by amendment #6, amends GS 106-701 by amending the conditions that must be met before a nuisance action may be filed against an agricultural or forestry operation, to require that the real property affected by the conditions alleged to be a nuisance be located within one half-mile of the source of the activity or structure alleged to be a nuisance (was, within one half-mile of the agricultural or forestry operation).
Amendment #3 amends GS 106-702 to provide that a plaintiff may not recover punitive damages for a private nuisance action where the alleged nuisance emanated from an agricultural or forestry operation that has not been subject to a criminal conviction or a civil enforcement action taken by a State or federal environmental regulatory agency pursuant to a notice of violation for the conduct alleged to be the source of the nuisance within the three years prior to the first act on which the nuisance action is based.
Amendment #5 adds a section amending GS 106-266.35 to allow the dispensing of raw milk or raw milk products for personal use or consumption to, or the acquisition of raw milk or raw milk products for personal use or consumption by, an independent or partial owner of a cow, goat, or other lactating animal. Exempts raw milk or raw milk products dispensed for personal use or consumption to the independent or partial owner of a cow, goat, or other lactating animal from the required labeling about the illegality of selling raw milk. For the purposes of the statute, adds that "sale" or "sold" does not include the transfer or dispensing of raw milk or raw milk products to, or the right to acquire raw milk or raw milk products by, the independent or partial owner of a cow, goat, or other lactating animal. Effective October 1, 2018.
Summary date: Jun 11 2018 - View summary
Senate amendments make the following changes to 3rd edition, as amended. Amendment #3 removes requirement for the Utilities Commission to adopt rules for reasonable limitations on the amount by which a natural gas local distribution company may increase its margin revenues in the event that actual construction costs exceed the estimated construction costs provided in the agreement. Makes other clarifying changes.
Amendment #4 adds whereas clauses. Amends GS 106-701, deleting previous provision to now provide that a nuisance action cannot be filed against an agricultural or forestry operation (operation) unless the plaintiff possesses the land affected by the conditions, the land is within half a mile of the operation, and the action is filed within one year of the establishment of the operation or one year of the operation undergoing a fundamental change. Removes exception to nuisance immunity that previously applied when the nuisance resulted from negligent or improper operation. Amends GS 106-702 to forbid a plaintiff from recovering punitive damages in a private nuisance action against an operation when the action was not brought within three years of the first alleged nuisance act. Makes other clarifying and technical changes. Deletes proposed changes to GS 106-700.
Summary date: Jun 7 2018 - View summary
House amendments make the following changes to the 3rd edition.
Amendment #1 modifies proposed GS 90-187.3A regarding comity for out-of-state veterinarians and international veterinarians for an international equestrian event. Prohibits the NC Veterinary Medical Board from charging an application fee for the issuance of a license under the statute (previously, required payment of the $150 fee authorized in GS 90-186(6)(e) for issuance). Removes the provision limiting a license issued under (b) to only for treating a horse previously in the nonresident veterinarian's care.
Makes a technical correction to proposed GS 106-701(a3).
Amendment #2 further amends GS 106-741 regarding record notice of a tract's proximity to farmlands. Adds new subsection (d), establishing immunity for realtors and appraisers licensed under GS Chapters 93A or 93E for failure to report to any person the proximity of a tract to a qualifying farm or voluntary agricultural district as defined in Article 61.
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.
Adds new Section 15.1. Enacts GS 153A-212.5, permitting intergovernmental law enforcement mutual aid agreements (agreement) between a law enforcement agency and an out-of-state law enforcement agency or officer to aid in enforcing state laws within the jurisdiction of the requesting law enforcement agency for maintaining security and safety for an international equestrian event. Defines law enforcement agency, out-of-state law enforcement agency, and out-of-state law enforcement officer. Requires the agreement to be in writing and address: (1) standards of conduct for out-of-state officers; (2) training requirements; (3) reimbursement of costs and expenses for supplies, equipment, facilities, personnel, services, and similar items if furnished, lent, or exchanged as part of the agreement; (4) protocols for processing claims made against or by the out-of-state law enforcement officer; and (5) approval of the governing body if the law enforcement agency is a sheriff or municipal police force. Allows the scope of the agreement to be comprised of (1) allowing out-of-state officers to work temporarily with officers of the requesting agency; (2) furnishing, lending, or exchanging supplies, equipment, facilities, personnel, and services; and (3) reciprocal law enforcement mutual aid and assistance between agencies. Grants out-of-state officers working with a requesting agency the same jurisdiction, powers, rights, privileges, and immunities as the officers of the requesting agency, and subjects the out-of-state officers to the lawful operational commands of the requesting agency. Deems out-of-state officers sworn in the officers' home jurisdiction to have met the certification requirements of North Carolina for purposes of being sworn in as a law enforcement officer with the requesting agency under the agreement. Additionally, permits out-of-state officers to hold dual offices in accordance with an agreement pursuant to the statute. Specifies that the statute does not reduce the jurisdiction or authority of state law enforcement officers.
Enacts GS 90-187.3A, requiring the State Board of Veterinary Medicine to issue a license to practice veterinary medicine in North Carolina to a nonresident veterinarian validly licensed in another state, territory, or district of the United States or foreign country who submits an application for licensure and pays the application fee authorized in GS 90-186(6)(e). Limits the validity of a license issued under the new statute to treatment of a horse previously in the care of the nonresident veterinarian.
Sets Section 15.1 of the act to expire October 1, 2018.
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.
Deletes the contents of the previous edition and instead provides the following.
Repeals Article 44 of GS Chapter 106 (Unfair Practices by Handlers of Fruits and Vegetables) and enacts Article 44A of GS Chapter 106, titled Fruit and Vegetable Handlers Registration Act. Sets out defined terms applicable to new Article 44A. Requires a handler to register with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) prior to conducting business in the state. Defines handler to mean any person in the business of buying, receiving, selling, exchanging, negotiating, processing for resale, or soliciting the sale, resale, exchange, or transfer of any fruits and vegetables purchased from a North Carolina farmer, received on consignment from a North Carolina farmer, or received to be handled on net return basis from a North Carolina farmer. Provides that the registration is free of cost. Details the required registration information required of handlers to submit to DACS. Requires handlers to update DACS within 60 days of any change in the registration information, and requires handlers to annually update DACS by February 1 of the annual volume, in dollar amount, of fruits and vegetables handled by the handler in North Carolina. Makes information collected under Article 44A confidential.
Exempts from the provisions of Article 44A: (1) a farmer or group of farmers in the sale of fruits and vegetables they produced themselves; (2) a handler who pays at the time of purchase with US cash or a cash equivalent; (3) a restaurant; and (4) a retailer that sells fruits and vegetables to end-use consumers through retail establishments or food stands operated by the company, its affiliates, or subsidiaries.
Allows the Board of Agriculture to adopt rules to implement Article 44A.
Authorizes the Commissioner of Agriculture to access a civil penalty for violation of Article 44A or rules adopted thereunder not to exceed $100 per violation. Adds that civil penalties for failure to register or provide updated information as required can only be issued after a 15-calendar-day notice has been provided to the handler and the handler subsequently fails to remedy the deficiency within 15 days. Further authorizes the Commissioner of Agriculture to apply for a temporary and/or permanent injunction, issued without bond, restraining any person from violating or continuing to violate any provision of Article 44A or any rule adopted thereunder.
Effective January 1, 2019, and applies to handlers conducting business in the State on or after that date.
Amends GS 106-24.1, establishing that all information generated by any federal agency received pursuant to GS Chapter 106 that is confidential under federal law must be held confidential by DACS and its employees, unless confidentiality is waived by the federal agency (previously, more specifically applied to information received pursuant to Article 1, Part 5, of GS Chapter 106 concerning cooperation between the Department, the US Department of Agriculture, and County Commissioners; also previously did not provide for agency waiver).
Amends GS 66-28, exempting DACS's promotion of Got to Be NC from the general prohibition against governmental units selling merchandise or services.
Amends the definitions set out in GS 106-568.51 that are applicable to Article 50E of GS Chapter 106 regarding industrial hemp. Adds the term verified propagule and defines the term to mean a seed or clone from an industrial hemp plant from which THC concentration samples have been tested by a qualified laboratory and confirmed as having a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration less than that adopted by federal law in the Controlled Substances Act (21 USC 801, et seq.). Modifies the term hemp products to include all products made from verified propagules for cultivation if the seed originates from industrial hemp varieties. Makes conforming change to delete the term certified seed.
Amends the following statutes concerning forestry to refer to the Commissioner of Agriculture instead of the Secretary of DACS: (1) GS 106-980, GS 106-981, and GS 106-982 (concerning the formation, organization, and directors of private limited dividend corporations created and approved by the Commissioner to finance and carry out projects for the protection and development of forests); (2) GS 106-1003 (concerning the deposit of receipts of all monies paid to the Commissioner for forestry services rendered under Article 82 with the State treasury); and (3) GS 106-1012(2) (defining approved practices under the Forest Development Act to mean silvicultural practices approved by the Commissioner for the purposes specified).
Directs DACS to immediately develop an enforcement plan to enforce the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s standard of identity for milk, defined in 21 CFR 131.110 and the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, as adopted by the North Carolina Administrative Code, to prohibit the sale of plant-based products mislabeled as milk. Defines milk to mean the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy hooved mammals. Provides that hooved mammals include but are not limited to cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, yaks, llamas, alpacas, camels, deer, reindeer, moose, horses, and donkeys. Requires DACS to begin implementation of its enforcement plan no later than 90 days after the effective date of the act. Requires the plan to include notification of DACS's intent to embargo all mislabeled products offered for sale in the state. Requires all plant-based products displayed for sale in the state to be labeled in accordance with the FDA's standard of identity for milk and the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance no later than January 1, 2019.
Amends GS 120-150, establishing that a quorum of the Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission is nine members.
Directs the Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission (Commission) to study (1) requiring holders of unused rights-of-way and utility easements to offer the easements to the underlying property owners for fair market value and (2) the advisability of excluding property enrolled in present use value taxation from rural fire protection district and county service district taxes. Requires the Commission to complete the studies and report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by January 1, 2019.
Amends GS 106-741 to mandate that all counties require land records to include some form of notice to alert persons searching the title of a tract that the tract is located within one-half mile of a poultry, swine, or dairy qualifying farm, within 600 feet of any other qualifying farm, or within one-half mile of a voluntary agricultural district (currently, authorizes any county with a computerized land records system to require notice of proximity as described).
Amends GS 106-700, which establishes the purpose of Article 57 is to reduce the loss to the state of its agricultural and forestry resources by limiting circumstances under which an agricultural or forestry operation can be deemed to be a nuisance. Modifies the existing policy language to state the finding that when there are changed conditions in the locality near agricultural and forestry areas, including other land uses that extend into agricultural and forestry areas, agricultural and forestry operations often become the subject of nuisance suits (currently, the finding does not concern changed conditions in the locality near agricultural and forestry areas).
Amends GS 106-701, which establishes that an agricultural and forestry operation does not constitute a nuisance by any changed conditions in or about the locality outside of the operation after the operation has been in operation for more than one year so long as the operation was not a nuisance at the time the operation began. Adds language defining the term changed conditions to include, but not be limited to, a change in ownership, occupancy, or the use of the property that is affected by the alleged nuisance. Establishes a presumption that activities conducted by an agricultural or forestry operation are presumed not to be a nuisance unless the plaintiff shows by clear and convincing evidence that the operation has not been managed in a manner consistent with: (1) generally accepted practices, methods, or procedures that are routinely used by other agricultural and forestry operations in the region and (2) applicable laws and regulations. Eliminates the exemptions for a nuisance that results from the negligent or improper operation of any agricultural or forestry operation or its appurtenances from the statute's provisions or those existing or later adopted local nuisance ordinances voided by the statute.
Directs the Utilities Commission to adopt rules to establish reasonable limitations on the amount by which a natural gas local distribution company can increase its margin revenues in an agreement between the natural gas local distribution company and a customer that provides for cost recovery in connection with the construction of facilities and extension of natural gas service to a property used for bona fide farm purposes, in the event that actual construction costs exceed the estimated construction costs provided in the agreement. Requires the Utilities Commission to adopt the rules no later than October 1, 2018.
Amends GS 139-7.2, modifying the continuing education requirements for soil and water conservation district supervisors to require all district supervisors to complete a minimum of six hours of training per term of service (currently, requires a minimum of six hours of training annually).
Amends GS 105-164.13, establishing a sales and use tax exemption for the sales of items listed in GS 105-164.13E purchased by a qualifying farmer for use in a zoo operated by a qualifying farmer. GS 105-164.13E exempts from sales and use tax specified tangible personal property, digital property, and services that are purchased by a qualifying farmer and used by the farmer for farming operation purposes. Adds that income from zoo operations are excluded for purposes of the income requirement for a qualifying farmer, as defined in existing GS 105-164.13E(a) (requiring at least $10,000 farming operation average income or $10,000 farming operation income preceding taxable year). Effective retroactively to January 1, 2011, and applies to purchases made on or after that date. Provides for an opportunity to apply to the Department of Revenue on or before January 1, 2019, for a refund of any excess tax paid to the extent the refund is the result of the change in law as enacted. Bars a request for a refund after January 1, 2019, and establishes that the excessive or erroneous collections provisions of GS 105-164.11 do not apply.
Amends GS 105-317.1 concerning the appraisal of personal property. Adds descriptors to each existing subsection. Adds new subsection providing for the uniform appraisal of farm equipment, allowing the appraiser to use any of the nine appraisal elements listed in subsection (a) of the statute and requiring the appraiser to consider relevant taxpayer information required in subsection (b). Directs the Department of Revenue to publish and make available on its website a depreciation schedule for farm equipment to assist counties that use the cost approach to appraise this equipment. Requires counties that use a cost approach method to appraise farm equipment using the published depreciation schedule. Effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2019.
Amends GS 105-278.2(a) regarding the burial property tax exemption. Specifies that no property exemption application is required under GS 105-282.1 for burial property exempt under the subsection. Prohibits a county from denying the exemption to a taxpayer that lacks a survey or plat detailing the exempt property.
Provides a severability clause.
Summary date: May 16 2018 - View summary
Enacts GS 106-496.1, setting out 11 defined terms applicable to Article 44 of GS Chapter 106 (Unfair Practices by Handlers of Fruits and Vegetables). Defines handler to mean any person in the business of buying, receiving, selling, exchanging, negotiating, processing for resale, or soliciting the sale, resale, exchange, or transfer of any fruits and vegetables purchased from a producer, received on consignment from a producer, or received to be handled on a net return basis from a producer (previously, defined in GS 106-496 as a person, firm, corporation or other legal entity or the entity's agent or employee who enters into a written contract for the purchase from or production by a producer of fruits and vegetables). Makes technical and conforming changes to GS 106-496, which authorizes the Board of Agriculture (Board) to adopt rules (was, rules and regulations) necessary to protect producers of fruits and vegetables against unfair trade practices of handlers.
Under current law, handlers of fruits and vegetables are required to obtain a written permit from the Commissioner of Agriculture (Commissioner) prior to contracting with a producer. Amends GS 106-497 to instead require a handler of fruits and vegetables acting within the scope of Article 44 of GS Chapter 106 to obtain an annual license issued by the Commissioner in order to engage in business.
Enacts GS 106-497.1, requiring every handler of fruits and vegetables to file an application for an annual license with the Commissioner. Authorizes the Board to adopt rules regarding the application form, filing, and fees. Limits the initial or renewal license fee to $500, and the administrative late fee to $250, which must be paid before issuance. Requires fees collected by the Commissioner to be used to defray the costs of administration of Article 44.
Enacts GS 106-497.2, authorizing the Commissioner to deny issuance or suspend or revoke a license if the Commissioner is satisfied the applicant or licensee meets any of the nine specified disqualifications, including (1) making false charges for handling or services rendered; (2) making any false statement(s) as to the condition, quality, or quantity of goods received or held for sale when the true condition, quality, or quantity could have been ascertained by reasonable inspection; or (3) providing false or misleading information in the license application.
Under current law, handlers must furnish a bond satisfactory to the Commissioner of no less than $10,000, which the Commissioner may increase or require a new bond as necessary, that is recoverable for damages suffered by a producer alleging any injury by fraud, deceit, willful injury, or breach of contract by the handler. Deletes the current language and instead provides the following. Requires applicants to make and deliver to the Commissioner a surety bond or a certificate of deposit before any license may be issued. Requires surety bonds to be executed by a surety corporation authorized to transact business in the State and approved by the Commissioner. Requires certificates of deposits to be approved by the Commissioner and issued by an institution properly insured by either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Federal Savings Loan Insurance Corporation. Provides that the surety bond or certificate of deposit must be based on the maximum amount of gross business the applicant did in any month in the State during the preceding licensing year, or an estimate for the upcoming licensing year if the applicant did not engage in business as a handler in North Carolina during the preceding year. Provides a schedule for the amount required based on the maximum monthly gross business, ranging from a $25,000 bond or deposit required for up to $25,000 maximum monthly gross business to $250,000 bond or deposit required for $225,001 or more maximum monthly gross business. Authorizes the Commissioner to require in writing an additional surety bond or certificate of deposit be given if the Commissioner determines that a previously approved bond or certificate becomes insufficient for any reason. Requires the handler’s license to immediately be revoked without notice or hearing if the additional bond or security deposit is not given within the time stated in the Commissioner’s demand, or if the bond or certificate is canceled.
Enacts GS 106-498.1, permitting any producer claiming to be injured by nonpayment, breach of contract, fraud, deceit, negligence, or other misconduct of a handler to sue the handler and the handler’s sureties in any court of competent jurisdiction to recover damages sustained by such conduct without any assignment thereof by the Department of State.
Enacts GS 106-498.2, allowing the Department of Agriculture (Department) to provide inspection services whenever fruits and vegetables are shipped to or received by a handler for handling, purchase, or sale, and the handler finds the produce to be spoiled, damaged, unmarketable, or in unsatisfactory condition. Provides that the Department can execute a certificate stating the day, time, place, and condition of the produce upon its inspection, and mail or deliver a copy of the certificate to both the handler and producer. Authorizes the Department to charge and collect fees in accordance with the US Department of Agriculture laws and rules, and the Department’s cooperative grading service agreement with the US Department of Agriculture.
Makes conforming changes to eliminate GS 106-499, which required the Commissioner’s approval of all contracts before a issuance of a permit.
Modifies and adds to GS 106-500, concerning additional powers of the Commissioner. Eliminates provisions authorizing the Commissioner to hold hearings and other related authorities such as administering oaths, taking testimony, and issuing subpoenas. Also eliminates the provision making any party disobeying any order or subpoena of the Commissioner guilty of contempt. Explicitly authorizes the Commissioner to suspend or revoke the licenses of a person disobeying the terms of Article 44 or of the rules adopted by the Board. Additionally, adds a new provision authorizing the Commissioner to apply to any court of competent jurisdiction to grant a temporary or permanent injunction, or both, upon hearing and for cause shown, restraining a person from violating or continuing to violate any of the provisions of Article 44 or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to the Article. Specifies that the injunction is issued without bond. Further, authorizes the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s agents to examine the ledgers, books of accounts, memoranda, and other documents related to the transaction involved, at the place or places of business of the applicant or licensee, and take testimony under oath. Makes technical changes.
Makes technical changes to GS 106-501, which makes any violation of Article 44 a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Enacts GS 106-501.1, authorizing the Commissioner to assess a civil penalty of no more than $5,000 per violation, dependent on the degree and extent of the harm, against any person or business entity who violates any provision of the Article or any rules promulgated under the Article. Requires the clear proceeds of the civil penalties to be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund.
Enacts GS 106-501.2, enumerating six exceptions to the provisions of Article 44, including (1) farmers or groups of farmers in the sale of fruits and vegetables grown by themselves; (2) restaurants and retail establishments; (3) handlers who pay at the time of purchase with cash, or handlers who purchase less than $1,000 worth of produce from NC producers during the peak month of those purchases within the calendar year; and (4) fruits and vegetables grown under contract for seed purposes (current law more specifically excludes peanuts and corn grown under contract for seed purposes in GS 106-500(a)).
Enacts GS 106-501.3, clarifying that nothing in the Article relieves a surety company or financial institution from responsibility for payment on properly established complaints against handlers involved in a federal bankruptcy proceeding.
Effective January 1, 2019.
Amends GS 106-24.1, establishing that all information generated by any federal agency received pursuant to GS Chapter 106 that is confidential under federal law must be held confidential by the Department and its employees, unless confidentiality is waived by the federal agency (previously, more specifically applied to information received pursuant to Article 1, Part 5, of GS Chapter 106 concerning cooperation between the Department, the US Department of Agriculture, and County Commissioners; also previously did not provide for agency waiver).