NC FARM ACT OF 2016 (NEW)

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 770 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 27, 2016
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY.
Intro. by B. Jackson, Brock, Cook.

Status: Ch. SL 2016-113 (Senate Action) (Jul 26 2016)

SOG comments (1):

Change Long Title

Senate committee substitute to 1st edition changed long title.  Long title was AN ACT TO PROVIDE ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM GOVERNING BEDDING IMPROPERLY MADE, SANITIZED, OR TAGGED, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY AWARENESS STUDY COMMISSION.

Bill History:

S 770/S.L. 2016-113

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Aug 2 2016 - More information

    AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY. Enacted July 26, 2016. Effective July 26, 2016, except as otherwise provided.


  • Summary date: Jun 28 2016 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 6th edition.

    Section 11 proposes establishing a new Article 86 of Chapter 106, entitled Farmed Cervid Industry Promotion Act. Deletes the revisions of the previous edition to Article 86, and reverts to the proposed language of the 5th edition.   


  • Summary date: Jun 28 2016 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 5th edition.

    Section 11

    Adds new subsection to proposed GS 106-1042, which sets out definitions to terms as they are used in proposed Article 86 of GS Chapter 106, to define cervid to mean any member of the Cervidae family. 

    Changes the term farmed cervid feed to cervid feed, and defines the term to mean any commercial feed, as defined in GS 106-284.33, labeled or marketed for cervid use (previously, labeled or marketed for farmed cervid use). Makes conforming changes to proposed GS 106-1043, proposed GS 106-1044, and proposed GS 106-1045.

    Section 12

    Deletes proposed subsection (a1) to GS 143-215.15, which exempted water uses for agricultural purposes on bona fide farms or silviculture operations from water permitting requirements for capacity use areas. 

    Section 13

    Amends proposed subdivision (1) to GS 143-138(b10), which sets out an exclusion to permitting requirements for replacement water heaters under the North Carolina State Building Code (Code). Now provides that no permit can be required under the Code or any local variant approved under subsection (e) of the statute for replacement water heaters in one or two-family dwellings, as long as (1) the energy use rate or thermal input is not greater than that of the water heater which is being replaced, and there is no change in fuel, energy source, location, or routing or sizing of venting and piping (previously, also required there to be no change in capacity); (2) the work is performed by a person or employee of a company licensed under GS 87-21 or pursuant to GS 87-21(i); and (3) the replacement is installed in accordance with the current edition of the Code.

    Section 14

    Amends the proposed revisions to GS 113A-52.01, concerning the applicability of the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act, to establish that the Act does not apply to activities, including the production and activities relating or incidental to the production of crops, grains, fruits, vegetables, ornamental and flowering plants, dairy, livestock, poultry, and all other forms of agriculture undertaken on agricultural land for the production of plants and animals useful to man (previously, activities, including the breeding and grazing of livestock, and any activity that constitutes a bona fide farm use under GS 153A-340(b)(2), undertaken on agricultural land for the production of plants and animals useful to man). Amends proposed GS 113A-52.01(1)g. of the statute to provide that the plants and animals useful to man include mulch, ornamental plants, and other horticultural products (previously, also included sod).

    Section 16

    Amends proposed GS 75-41, concerning automatic renewal clauses in contracts, to provide that an automatic contract renewal for the sale or lease of products or services for a term exceeding 60 days is void and unenforceable unless the consumer is given written notice of the automatic renewal at least 15 days but no earlier than 45 days (previously, 30 days) before the date of automatic renewal of the contract, unless it is cancelled prior to that date.

    Section 18

    New section requires that an electric public utility that has received a request to interconnect to the public utility's distribution system from a renewable energy facility must move that request to the front of the respective study queue relative to other pending valid interconnection requests if (1) the facility is fueled by only swine or poultry waste, or by a combination of swine and poultry waste, and (2) prior to May 21, 2016, the facility has entered into the interconnection queue and either obtained a certificate of public convenience and necessity under GS 62-110.(a) or reported to the Utilities Commission that it proposed to construct the facility under GS 62-110.1(g).

    Provides that a renewable energy facility that meets the requirements of Section 18(a) cannot be moved in front of an interconnection request that has either initiated the system impact study process or received a system impact study report and is continuing through the interconnection process.

    Requires that any prioritization of a renewable energy facility pursuant to Section 18 of the act must be based on original queue numbers. Requires the facility to otherwise comply with the North Carolina Interconnection Standard approved by the Commission.

    This section is effective when it becomes law and expires January 1, 2017.


  • Summary date: Jun 16 2016 - More information

    Senate amendment makes the following changes to the 4th edition. 

    Amends GS 143-138(b10), which contains the requirements that must be met in order for the replacement of water heaters in one- and two-family dwellings to be completed without the required permit, to allow the work to be done by a person or employee of a company licensed (was, only by a person licensed) under GS 87-21 or GS 87-21(i). Amends GS 143-138(b16) to allow for the repair or replacement of a water heater without a permit if the repair or replacement does not require the addition or relocation of electrical writing, the work is performed by a person or employee of a company licensed under GS 87-43, and the repair or replacement is performed in accordance with the current edition of the North Carolina State Building Code. Also amends GS 143-138(b16) to allow the repair or replacement of dishwashers, disposals, electrical devices, or lighting fixtures in residential or commercial structures to be done without a permit by a person or employee of a company (was, a person) licensed under GS 87-43, provided that the other listed requirements are met.


  • Summary date: Jun 15 2016 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 3rd edition.

    Section 9

    Amends GS 90-91(k), which lists substances that are considered anabolic steroids and schedule III controlled substances under the statute, to change the proposed addition to subsubdivision 32 to exclude from the terms salt, ester, or isomer of a drug or subtance described or listed in subsection (k) chorionic gonadotropin when adminstered by injection for veterinary use by a licensed veterinarian or the veterinarian's designated agent (previously, chorionic gonadotropin when administered by injection for veterinary use by or in the presence of a licensed veterinarian).

    Section 12

    Amends proposed subsection (a1) to GS 143-215.15, concerning procedures for permits for water use within capacity use areas, by deleting the provision requiring agricultural water users to register surface water and groundwater withdrawals with the Division of Water Resources on a form provided by the Division and provide the information to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

    Makes technical change to Section 12(b) of the act.

    Section 13

    Amends GS 143-138, concerning the North Carolina State Building Code, as follows. 

    Amends subsection (b5) to specify that no permit can be required under the Code or any local variance thereof approved under subsection (e) for any construction, installation, repair, replacement, or alteration performed in accordance with the current edition of the North Carolina State Building Code and costing $15,000 or less in any single-family residence or farm building unless the work involves one of the five situations specified.

    Amends the proposed exclusion in subdivision (1) of subsection (b10) to exclude the replacement of water heaters in one- or two- family dwellings, provided that (1) the energy use rate or thermal input is not greater than that of the water heater which is being replaced and there is no change in fuel, energy source, location, capacity, or routing or sizing of venting and piping; (2) the work is performed by a person licensed under GS 87-21 or pursuant to GS 87-21(i) (previously, did not provide option for work to be performed pursuant to GS 87-21(i)); and (3) the replacement is installed in accordance with the current edition of the North Carolina State Building Code (previously, did have a third requirement).

    Amends proposed subsection (b16), which excludes electrical devices and lighting fixtures, as specified, by adding a new requirement that the repair or replacement must be performed in accordance with the current edition of the North Carolina State Building Code in order for the exclusion to apply.

    Amends GS 153A-357 (building permits in counties), subsection (a2), to specify that no permit issued under Articles 9 or 9C of GS Chapter 143 are required for any construction, installation, repair, replacement, or alteration performed in accordance with the current edition of the North Carolina State Building Code and costing $15,000 or less in any single-family residence or farm building unless the work involves any of the five situations specified.

    Section 16

    Amends proposed subdivision (3) to GS 75-41(a), concerning contracts with automatic renewal clauses, to require any person engaged in commerce that sells, leases, or offers to sell or lease, any products or services to a consumer pursuant to a contract where the contract automatically renews unless the consumer cancels the contract to provide written notice to the consumer, as specified, for any automatic renewal exceeding 60 days (previously, was exceeding 30 days). Adds a new subdivision (4) to require the person, as described, to disclose the changing terms of the contract clearly and conspicuously on the notification in at least 12-point type and bold print if the terms of the contract will change upon the automatic renewal of the contract.

    Deletes the proposed revisions to GS 105-277.4, which modified when the lien for deferred taxes on land eligible for present use value classification is extinguished. Makes conforming technical changes.

    Section 17

    Amends proposed subdivision (3) of GS 87-97(b1), which sets out that a permit for private drinking water wells is deemed to include the authorization to install both water pipes and electrical wiring in a single ditch by a person certified as a well contractor, as specified, by deleting the provision that established the local health department to be solely responsible for inspecting the ditch and the contents of the ditch.

    Deletes the proposed revisions of GS 105-164.13E(a), which amended the income requirement for qualified farmers for the sales tax exemption. Makes conforming change.


  • Summary date: May 26 2016 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.

    Amends GS 106-65.105D to remove assault on an agent acting under their duties under Article 4H (bedding) from those acts that are punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor. Deletes the provision defining impede, oppose, intimidate, or interfere to include the use of profane and indecent language, or any act or gesture which tends to cast disrespect on an inspector.

    Amends GS 90-91 to require that chorionic gonadotropin be administered by injection for veterinary use or in the presence of a licensed veterinarian (was, or upon the order of a licensed veterinarian) in order to be excluded from the definition of anabolic steroid. 

    Amends GS 113A-52.01 to define mulch, as it is used in the statute (which exempts specified activities from the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act), to mean substances composed primarily of plant remains or mixtures of such substances. 


  • Summary date: May 25 2016 - More information

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

    Amends the act's short and long titles.

    Makes technical and clarifying changes to the newly enacted five sections to Article 4H of GS Chapter 106 which provide provisions for the enforcement by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) of bedding laws governing improperly made, sanitized or tagged bedding.

    Enacts new GS Chapter 106, Article 85, or the Agricultural Emergency Response Act, to authorize DACS to aid and assist agricultural operations and landowners in the preparedness, response, and recovery from agricultural emergencies. These DACS powers and duties are not contingent on the declaration of a state of emergency in North Carolina. Sets out and defines four terms for use in this Article, including Commissioner, Department, Agricultural Emergency Response Team (AERT), and agricultural emergency.  Provides that upon the determination of an imminent threat of an agricultural emergency or that one already exists, DACS is authorized to appoint and deploy AERTs to respond to agricultural emergencies, by way of aiding in prevention measures or recovery efforts  on the premises of agricultural landowners throughout the State. Per the definition of AERTs, all members of the team would be DACS employees or personnel operating under agreement as a contracted service. Provides that AERTs and other entities attempting to comply with this act benefit from immunity from liability for death or injury to persons or for damage to property, except in cases of willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith. Also extends immunity from liability to private parties and entities that allow the use of real or personal property for the purposes of activities related to an agricultural emergency response. Provides that DACS is authorized to use unrestricted funds available to it by way of appropriation by the General Assembly from the General Fund. Sets out general nondiscrimination clause in regards to extending relief and assistance activities. Enacts new GS 166A-19.77A in the NC Emergency Management Act, designating DACS as an emergency response agency for the purposes specified. 

    Enacts new GS 113-299, Aerial management of feral swine, to allow employees of the Wildlife Resources Commission and employees of federal agencies whose responsibilities include fisheries and wildlife management to cull feral swine from aircraft, with the written permission of the landowner. Prohibits such activities from taking place in coastal counties during waterfowl season.

    Repeals GS 106-168.5, Duties of Commissioner upon receipt of application; inspection committee, which provided for the establishment of the rendering plant inspection committee. Amends GS 106-168.6, GS 106-168.7, GS 106-168.10, GS 106-168.12, and GS 106-168.13, all sections dealing with the operation of rendering plants, making conforming changes as a result of the repeal of the rendering committee, transitioning previous responsibilities of the rendering committee to the Commissioner of Agriculture. Makes various other technical and clarifying changes.

    Amends GS 139-4(d) concerning the powers and duties of the Soil and Water Conservation Commission, adding the duty to establish a required training program for all district supervisors. Enacts new GS 139-7.2, to require both elected and appointed soil and water district supervisors to complete at least six hours of annual training, which must include topics of soil, water, and resource conservation and duties of district supervisors.

    Amends GS 19A-67, concerning the Animal Shelter Support Fund, providing that the Board of Agriculture (was, Animal Welfare Section) must issue rules concerning eligible expenses and guidelines for the administration of the Animal Shelter Support Fund. Also gives the Board of Agriculture temporary rulemaking authority to administer the Fund. 

    Amends GS 150B-1(d) to exempt the Board of Agriculture from rulemaking requirements specifically in regards to the fee schedule for the preparation of forest management plans. Amends GS 106-1004, fees for forest management plans, making conforming changes reflecting the exemption from rulemaking for the schedule of fees for the preparation of forest management plans.

    Enacts new GS 115C-264.4, Local preference for produce in schools, allowing local school boards to develop policies and procedures for the maximization of the purchasing of food grown or raised in North Carolina, including policies that allow a percentage price preference for the purpose of procuring food grown or manufactured in North Carolina. 

    Amends GS 90-91, concerning Schedule III controlled substances, to create an exemption for chorionic gonadotropin from the definition of anabolic steroids, which is on the list of Schedule III, but the exemption from being considered a controlled substance applies only when administered by injection for veterinary use by or upon the order of a licensed veterinarian.

    Amends GS 105-129.16D(b), concerning tax credits for constructing renewable fuel facilities, to extend the sunset for the production credit for commercial facilities for processing renewable fuel from January 1, 2017, to January 1, 2020. 

    Enacts new GS Chapter 106, Article 86, Farmed Cervid Industry Promotion Act, setting out five definitions for use in the act, including association, cervid farmer, department, farmed cervid, and farmed cervid feed. Provides for the voluntary assessment through the referendum process conducted by the NC Deer and Elk Farmers Association (Association). Provides duties and responsibilities for the Association concerning the assessment and referendum, including amount of the assessment, not to exceed $4 per ton of farmed cervid feed and the time and place of the referendum. Requires a majority vote for the assessment to be levied. Further sets out procedures and processes for the assessment, including to whom the assessment is to be remitted, permissible refunds of the assessment, and that the funds must be used to promote the interests of the farmed cervid industry.

    Amends GS 143-215.15, Permits for water use within capacity use areas - Procedures, enacting new subsection (a1) to exempt water uses for agricultural purposes on bona fide farms or silviculture operations from water permitting requirements for capacity use areas. Requires registration of the agricultural water withdrawals use as specified. Directs the Environmental Management Commission to revise its rules to be consistent with the above. 

    Amends GS 143-138, North Carolina State Building Code, concerning activities which do not require permits, making various changes and providing that no permit is needed to conduct any construction, installation, repair, replacement, or alteration activities costing $15,000 or less in residential and farm structures if they involve the following: (1) replacements of windows; doors; exterior siding; or pickets, railings, stair treads, and decking of porches and exterior decks; (2) plumbing replacements that do not change size or capacity; or (3) replacement of roofing.  Deletes language that limited the exclusions from permit requirements for electrical lighting devices and fixtures and water heaters only to work performed on one- or two-family dwellings. Further amends the section to provide that no permit is required for the replacement of water heaters in one- or two-family dwellings if (1) the energy use rate or thermal input does not exceed that of the water heater being replaced and there is no change in fuel, energy source, location, capacity, or routing or sizing of venting and piping and (2) the work is performed by a person licensed pursuant to GS 87-21, meaning by the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors. Enacts new subsection (b16) providing an exclusion from permitting for electrical devices and lighting fixtures, such as the repair or replacement of dishwashers, disposals, electrical devices, or lighting fixtures in residential or commercial structures, if (1) the repair or replacement does not require addition or relocation of additional electrical wiring and (2) the work is performed by a person licensed by the State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, pursuant to GS 87-43. Makes clarifying changes concerning the exclusions from permits for the routine maintenance of fuel dispensing pumps and other dispensing devices. Amends GS 153A-357 (county permit regulations) and GS 160A-417 (city permit regulations) to bring the local government regulations in compliance with the changes made to State regulations and permit requirements in GS 143-138 as described above. Makes organizational changes. Effective October 1, 2016. 

    Amends GS 113A-52.01 concerning the applicability of the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act, providing for an exemption for any activity that constitutes a bona fide farm use as specified under GS 153A-340(b)(2). Also specifically excludes activities involving the production of mulch, ornamental plants, sod, and other horticultural products from the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act.

    Amends GS 143B-437.020, concerning the definition for an eligible project under the Expanded Gas Products Service to Agriculture Fund, modifying the definition to provide that an eligible project is a project for an agricultural operation or agricultural processing facility that requests natural gas or propane gas service (previously, definition required an eligible project to expand the agricultural or processing capabilities of the facility).

    Amends GS 75-41 concerning automatic renewal clauses in contracts, making organizational changes and setting new requirements and providing that an automatic contract renewal for the sale or lease of products or services for a term exceeding 30 days is void and unenforceable unless the consumer is given written notice of the automatic renewal if it is not canceled. Further requires the notice to be given at least 15 days but no earlier than 30 days before the date the contract is to be automatically renewed. Adds additional language limiting the liability of the contract provisions, excluding entities regulated by the Federal Communications Commission under federal law or by the NC Utilities Commission under State law, or entities doing business under authorization issued by a political subdivision of the State or any agency thereof. Effective when bill becomes law, applying to contracts entered into on or after that date. 

    Amends GS 105-277.4 concerning deferred taxes of agricultural, horticultural, and forest land, deleting language which provided that if a property lost its eligibility for present-use value classification because it was conveyed by gift to a nonprofit organization and qualifies for exclusion from the tax base, then no deferred taxes were due and the lien for deferred taxes was extinguished. 

    Adds new provision to GS 105-277.4 concerning the conveyance of property eligible for present-use value classification to a nonprofit, providing that if the property qualifies for exclusion from the tax base, then deferred taxes are due as follows: (1) if the property is conveyed at or below present-use value, then no deferred taxes are due and the lien for the deferred taxes is extinguished or (2) if the property is conveyed for more than the present-use value, then a portion of the deferred tax for the preceding three fiscal years of deferred taxes will be due in accordance to the provisions in GS 105-277.1F. Sets out how to calculate the amount owed, either being equal to or lesser of the full amount deferred or the deferred amount multiplied by a fraction as specified. 

    Effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2016.

    Amends GS 87-97 concerning permitting, inspection and testing of private drinking water wells, expanding the activities that are authorized per the permit, including authorizing certified well contractors to install, construct, maintain, or repair water pipes when running water pipes from the well to the water tank, and the installation of both water pipes and electrical wiring in a single ditch when running electrical wires from the well pump to the pressure switch and water pipes from the well to the water tank. Sets out requirements for the ditch as well and places the local health department in charge of inspecting the ditch and contents of the ditch. Also provides that when permits are issued under this section, then the local health department is responsible for notifying the appropriate building inspector of such issuance. Further directs the Building Code Council to amend the State Electrical Code and the State Plumbing Code to be consistent with this section. Effective October 1, 2016.

    Amends GS 105-164.13E to lower the amount of income from farming operations (from $10,000 to $5,000) that is required in order for farmers to qualify for the sales tax exemption. Effective for taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2016.

    Includes a severability clause.


  • Summary date: Apr 27 2016 - More information

    Identical to H 993, filed 4/27/16.

    Enacts five new sections to Article 4 of GS Chapter 106 to provide provisions for the enforcement by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) of bedding laws governing improperly made, sanitized or tagged bedding.

    Enacts new GS 106-65.105A as follows. Allows an authorized agent of DACS (agent) to tag an item that has been detained or embargoed for violation of Article 4 if the agent finds or has probable cause to believe the bedding is unsanitary, mislabeled, unsafe for its intended use, a danger to the public or is otherwise in violation of Article 4. Establishes that it is a violation of Article 4 to alter a tag, or to remove or dispose of a detained or embargoed item by sale or otherwise, without permission, and that the tag or marking must include a warning that it is a violation to remove or dispose of a detained or embargoed item without permission.  Authorizes an agent to petition a judge of the district or superior court in whose jurisdiction the item is detained or embargoed for an order of condemnation of the item.  Directs the agent to remove the tag or marking is it is found that the item detained or embargoed is not in violation of Article 4. Directs that the item detained or embargoed must either (1) be destroyed at the expense of the claimant and under the supervision of the agent, after entry of the decree, if the item is found to be in violation of Article 4, or (2) if the item is found to be in violation of Article 4 and the violation can be corrected by proper labeling or processing, the court can, after entry of the decree and a conditioned bond is executed, order that the item be delivered to the item's claimant for that correction under the supervision of an agent, where the any bond paid must be returned to the claimant by representation to the court by DACS that the item is no longer in violation of Article 4. Directs that all court costs and fees, storage, and other proper expenses are borne by the claimant of the item or the claimant's agent.  Directs that the expense of DACS's supervision be paid by the claimant.

    Enacts GS 106-65.105B to authorize the Commissioner of DACS (Commissioner) to apply to the superior court for, and provides that the superior court will have jurisdiction upon hearing and for cause shown to grant, a temporary or permanent injunction restraining any person from violating any provision of Article 4 or any rule promulgated under Article 4, whether or not there exists an adequate remedy of law.

    Enacts GS 106-65.105C as follows. Authorizes the Commission to access a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 per violation against any person, firm or corporation that violates or directly causes a violation of any provision of Article 4, or rule promulgated under Article 4, or order of the Commissioner.  Allows the Commissioner to consider any continued or repeated violation after written notice to constitute separate violations subject to separate penalties.  Directs the Commissioner to consider the degree and extent of harm caused or potentially caused by the violation in determining the amount of the penalty. Requires the Commissioner to give the person written notice of the violation and a reasonable period of time to correct the violation before assessing a civil penalty, unless the Commissioner determines the violation has the potential to cause future physical injury or illness. Allows the Commissioner to consider the training and management practices implemented by the person, firm or corporation for the purpose of complying with Article 4 as a mitigating factor when determining the amount of the civil penalty.  Requires the Commissioner to remit the clear proceeds of the civil penalties assessed under GS 106-65.105C to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund pursuant to GS 115C-457.2.

    Enacts new GS 106-65.105D as follows. Establishes that any person, firm, or corporation that violates Article 4, or any rules, regulations, or standards promulgated under Article 4, will be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Establishes that any person, firm, or corporation that provides the Commission or a duly authorized agent of the Commissioner with false or misleading information in relation to a license application or renewal, inspection, or investigation authorized by Article 4 will be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Establishes that any person, firm, or corporation that alters or removes a tag indicating that an item has been detained or embargoed under GS 106-65.105A(a) without first receiving permission from the court or a duly authorized agent under Article 4 will be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Establishes that any person, firm, or corporation that removes or disposes of any item detained or embargoed under GS 106-65.105A(a) without first receiving permission from the court or a duly authorized agent under Article 4 will be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Establishes that any person who willfully assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with any person while engaged in or on account of the performance of the person's official duties under Article 4 will be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor, or if any person uses a deadly weapon in the commission of such acts, will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Established that any person that continues to violate or further violates any provision of Article 4 after written notice from the Commissioner, the court may determine that each day during which the violation continued or is repeated constitutes a separate violation.

    Enacts GS 106-65.105E to clarify that nothing in Article 4 is to be construed to require the Commissioner to initiate, or attempt to initiate, any criminal or administrative proceeding under Article 4 for minor violations of Article 4 whenever the Commissioner believes that the public interest will be adequately served by a suitable written notice or warning.

    Effective December 1, 2016, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.


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