Bill Summary for S 638 (2013-2014)

Summary date: 

May 8 2013

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
Senate Bill 638 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 2, 2013
AN ACT TO ENACT THE NORTH CAROLINA FARM ACT OF 2013 TO (1) LIMIT THE LIABILITY OF NORTH CAROLINA COMMODITY PRODUCERS ARISING FROM FOOD SAFETY ISSUES RELATED TO THEIR PRODUCTS; (2) LIMIT THE LIABILITY OF FARM ANIMAL ACTIVITY SPONSORS, FARM ANIMAL PROFESSIONALS, AND AGRITOURISM OPERATORS AND CLARIFY THAT EQUINE RECREATION WHERE THE LANDOWNER RECEIVES NO COMPENSATION IS SUBJECT TO THE RECREATIONAL USE STATUTE AND NOT THE EQUINE ACTIVITY LIABILITY STATUTE; (3) ALLOW THE COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE TO ASSESS NONMONETARY PENALTIES TO ADDRESS VIOLATIONS WHEN APPROPRIATE; (4) DECREASE THE FREQUENCY OF THE AGRICULTURAL WATER USE SURVEY; (5) LIMIT THE PERSONALLY IDENTIFYING INFORMATION THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES MAY DISCLOSE ABOUT ITS ANIMAL HEALTH PROGRAMS; (6) MAKE CONFORMING CHANGES TO THE NAME OF THE STRUCTURAL PEST CONTROL AND PESTICIDES DIVISION AND CLARIFY THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DIVISION; (7) AMEND CERTAIN EGG LABELING REQUIREMENTS; (8) REPEAL THE INTERSTATE PEST CONTROL COMPACT; (9) REPEAL CERTAIN CLEANLINESS STANDARDS FOR CREAMERIES AND DAIRY FACILITIES THAT ARE ADDRESSED BY THE NC FOOD, DRUG, AND COSMETIC ACT; (10) CHANGE SETBACK DISTANCES AND BURN TIMES FOR FLAMMABLE MATERIALS RESULTING FROM GROUND CLEARING ACTIVITIES; (11) REPEAL THE STATE SULFUR CONTENT STANDARDS FOR GASOLINE; (12) EXEMPT FORESTRY AND SILVICULTURE OPERATIONS FROM TEMPORARY DRIVEWAY PERMITTING; (13) ALLOW A FARM BUILDING THAT IS USED FOR PUBLIC OR PRIVATE EVENTS TO MAINTAIN ITS FARM BUILDING STATUS FOR PURPOSES OF THE STATE BUILDING CODE; (14) EXEMPT CERTAIN STRUCTURES FROM THE SPRINKLER SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS OF THE NORTH CAROLINA BUILDING CODE; (15) ALLOW RETAILERS TO DISPLAY MORE THAN FOUR HUNDRED SQUARE FEET OF NURSERY STOCK FOR SALE IN THEIR PARKING LOTS; (16) EXPAND THE AGRICULTURAL DAM EXEMPTION TO THE DAM SAFETY ACT; (17) ALLOW A LANDOWNER TO WITHDRAW WATER FOR AGRICULTURAL USE DURING WATER SHORTAGE EMERGENCIES UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS; (18) DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO JOINTLY PETITION THE WILMINGTON DISTRICT OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO ALLOW FOR GREATER FLEXIBILITY AND OPPORTUNITY TO PERFORM STREAM AND WETLANDS MITIGATION BEYOND THE IMMEDIATE WATERSHED WHERE DEVELOPMENT WILL OCCUR; AND (19) ACCELERATE THE SUNSET DATE OF THE PETROLEUM DISPLACEMENT PLAN AS A RESULT OF THE STATE HAVING SUBSTANTIALLY ACHIEVED ITS TWENTY PERCENT REDUCTION GOAL OF THE USE OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS.
Intro. by Jackson, Brock.

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Bill summary

Senate committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.

Creates new Part 2, Farm Animal Activity Liability, in Article 1 of GS Chapter 99E. Provides that a farm animal activity sponsor, a farm animal professional, or any other person engaged in a farm animal activity is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of farm animal activities and no participant or representative thereof will maintain an action against or recover from a farm animal sponsor, a farm animal professional, or any other person engaged in a farm animal activity for injury, loss, damage, or death of the participant resulting exclusively from any of the inherent risks of farm animal activities. Defines farm animal activity as an activity in which participants observe, engage with, or learn about one or more farm animals, including specified activities. Does not prevent or limit liability if the farm animal activity sponsor, professional, or person engaged in a farm animal activity (1) provides the equipment or tack and knew or should have known that the equipment or tack was faulty and the faulty equipment proximately caused the injury, damage, or death; (2) provides the farm animal and failed to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant to engage safely in the farm animal activity or to safely manage the particular farm animal; (3) commits an act or omission that constitutes willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant, and that act or omission proximately caused the injury, damage, or death; or (4) commits another act of negligence or omission that proximately caused the injury, damage, or death. The statute also does not prevent or limit liability under liability provisions as set forth in the products liability laws. Requires all farm animal activity sponsors and every farm animal professional to post and maintain warning notices that include specified language. Also requires every written contract to include the warning. Amends GS 99E-31 to provide that the statute does not prevent or limit the liability of an agritourism professional if the professional (1) commits an act or omission that constitutes gross negligence (was, negligence) or willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant and that act or omission proximately causes injury, damage, or the death of the participant; or (2) has actual knowledge or reasonably should have known if an existing dangerous condition (was, known of of a dangerous condition) on the land, facilities, or equipment used in the activity or the dangerous propensity of a particular animal used in such activity and does not make the danger known to the participant and the danger proximately causes injury, damage, or death to the participant. Effective July 1, 2013.

Makes a clarifying change to proposed GS 106-22.6.

Amends GS 106-24 to require the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Department) to require the biennial (was, annual) collection of information on water use by those who withdraw 10,000 gallons per day or more for agricultural activities. Specifies that the Department must report the results of the survey to the Environmental Review Commission no later than July 1  of each year in which the survey was collected.

Amends GS 106-24.1 to provide that information collected from farm operators for the purposes of its animal health programs including, but not limited to, certificates of veterinary inspection, animal medical records, lab reports, or other records that may be used to identify a person or private business activities subject to regulation by the Department must not be disclosed without the owner's permission unless the state Veterinarian decides that disclosure is necessary to prevent the spread of an animal disease or to protect the public health, or the disclosure is necessary in the implementation of these animal health programs.

Repeals Article 4E (Pest Control Compact) of GS Chapter 106, GS 106-246 (concerning sanitation of places where ice cream, milk shakes, milk sherbet, sherbet, water ices, and other similar frozen or semifrozen food products are made for sale, all creameries, butter and cheese factories), and GS 106-248 (concerning purity of cream, ice cream, butter, cheese, or other products).

Amends GS 106-942 to change the setback distance for burning flammable material resulting from ground clearing from 1,000 feet to 500 feet and amends the hours during which the burning is allowed.

Repeals GS 119-26.2 (sulfur content standards for gas).

Amends GS 143-138 (state building code) to provide that a farm building does not lose its status as such because it is used for public or private events that are taking place on the farm because of its farm or rural setting. Requires the Building Code Council to provide for an exemption from any requirements in the fire prevention code for installation of an automatic sprinkler system applicable to buildings that (1) have one floor, (2) meet the equipment of 29 CFR 1910.142, and (3) meet the requirements of GS Chapter 95, Article 19 (Migrant Housing Act) and the rules implementing the Article.

Amends GS 143-212 to amend the definition of the term waters to provide that wetlands classified as waters are restricted to waters of the United States. Amends GS 143-215.1 to provide that permit is not required for activities in wetlands that are not waters of the United States. Makes conforming changes.

Amends GS 143-215.25A to provide that the Part (dam safety law) does not apply to any dam that is constructed for and maintains the purpose of providing water for agricultural use when a licensed professional engineer or a person who is employed by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, county, or local Soil and Water Conservation District and has federal engineering job approval authority under GS Chapter 89C designed or approved plan for the dam, supervised its construction, and registered the dam with the Division of Energy Mineral and Land Resources of the Department. Requires that the registration occur prior to construction.

Amends GS 143-355.3 (water shortage emergency powers) to provide that nothing in the statute limits a landowner from withdrawing water for use in agricultural activities when the water is withdrawn from: (1) surface water sources located wholly on the landowner's property, including impoundments constructed by or owned by the landowner and captured stormwater or (2) groundwater sources including wells constructed on the landowner's property, springs, and artesian wells.

Requires the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation to jointly petition the Wilmington District of the US Army Corps of Engineers no later than October 1, 2013, to allow for greater flexibility and opportunity to perform wetlands mitigation for public and private development outside of the eight digit Hydrologic Unit Code where development will occur. Requires a report to the Environmental Review Commission no later than January 1, 2014.

Makes conforming changes to the act's title.

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