Bill Summary for S 582 (2023-2024)

Printer-friendly: Click to view

Summary date: 

Apr 6 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
Senate Bill 582 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Intro. by Jackson, Sanderson, B. Newton.

View: All Summaries for BillTracking:

Bill summary

Section 1

Amends GS 105-277.3, which defines three classes of property (agricultural land, horticultural land, and forestland) eligible for taxation on the basis of the value of the property in its present use under GS 105-277.4. Amends the income requirement of the class of property defined as agricultural land, which requires the land to have produced an average gross income of at least $1,000 for the preceding three years to claim the benefit, to no longer exclude honey sales from the computation of gross income from agricultural land (currently includes income from the sale of products derived from beehives other than honey). Effective for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2023.

Section 2

Amends GS 136-32, which bars placing commercial or political advertising signs on highways, traffic signs or signals. Authorizes placement of farm signs in the right-of-way of the State highway system during a farm's seasonal operation, provided placement complies with the statute's existing limitations established for permitted political signs, including requiring the person to obtain the property owner's permission for placement and regulating the signs' placement and size. Defines farm as any property that is used for a bona fide farm purpose under GS Chapter 106-581.1. Defines farm sign as a sign that advertises a farm, products grown, raised, or produced on a farm, or services provided on a farm, or that provides customers with directions to a farm. Makes conforming changes. Requires removal by the end of the farm's season. Authorizes removal of signs remaining more than 30 days after the end of the farm's seasonal operation, without penalty. 

Section 3

Amends GS 20-4.01 to exclude from the definition of property-hauling vehicles, applicable to the motor vehicles laws of GS Chapter 20, a fifth-wheel trailer, recreational vehicle, semitrailer, or trailer used exclusively or primarily to transport vehicles in connection with motorsports competition events.

Section 4

Enacts GS 90-187.17, pertaining to inspections conducted by the Veterinary Medical Board (Board), requiring the Board to provide one weeks' written notice of any upcoming inspection to the veterinarian along with a checklist of all standards for which the Board may issue a violation and the conditions that would constitute a violation. Permits electronic notice. Allows for rescheduling at the request of the veterinarian for no later than one week after the originally scheduled date of inspection. Effective October 1, 2023. 

Section 5

Amends GS 115C-12 to require the State Board of Education to ensure 100% muscadine grape juice (muscadine grape juice) is available in schools for students with visual and hearing impairments operated under Article 9C of GS Chapter 115 as part of the school's nutrition program or through the school's vending facilities. Enacts GS 115C-264.5, GS 115C-218.75(k), GS 115C-238.66(19), and GS 116-239.8(b)(4)c. to charge local boards of education, charter schools, regional schools, and laboratory schools with the same duty to ensure muscadine grape juice is available to students as part of the school's nutrition program or through the school's vending facilities. Applies beginning with the 2023-24 school year. 

Similarly, amends GS 115D-20 to require the State Board of Community Colleges to make available muscadine grape juice as a beverage option in the operation of the community college's vending facilities. Enacts GS 116-43.25 to require UNC constituent institutions to make muscadine grape juice available as a beverage option in the operation of the institution's vending facilities. Applies beginning with the 2023-24 academic year.

Section 6

States legislative findings. Authorizes the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) to add the Equine State Trail in Chatham, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, and Richmond Counties to the State Parks System as a State Trail pursuant to State law. Directs DNCR to support and facilitate the establishment of trail segments on State park lands and lands of other federal, State, local, and private landowners. Provides for governing law of property controlled by other agencies or owners other than DNCR's Division of Parks and Recreation. Exempts the described authority from the requirements of GS 143B-135.54(b), pertaining to adequate appropriations required for land acquisitions, development, and operations. Authorizes the State to receive land donations and purchased other needed lands with existing funds in four specified State Funds and through other available sources of funding. 

Section 7

States legislative findings. Amends GS 145-18(a) to replace the Scuppernong grape as the official State fruit with the Muscadine grape.

Section 8

Amends GS 145-3 to designate the longleaf pine as the emblem representing the trees of North Carolina.

Section 9

Amends GS 106-966, modifying the definition of prescribed burning applicable to the Prescribed Burning Act, now defining the term to mean the planned and controlled application of fire to vegetative fuels under specified weather and environmental and other conditions (was, to naturally occurring vegetative fuels under safe weather and safe environmental and other conditions), while following appropriate precautionary measure to confine the fire to a predetermined area and accomplish the intended management objectives. Now defines prescription to require the written plan to establish the conditions and methods for conducting a prescribed burn, in addition to requiring the plan to be prepared by a certified prescribed burner.

Amends GS 106-967, revising the immunity granted to landowners and their agents under the Prescribed Burning Act. Expands civil immunity granted to landowners and their agents who conduct a prescribed burning in compliance with state law from any damage or injury cause by fire, including reignition of a smoldering, previously contained burn, in addition to immunity granted for any damage or injury resulting from smoke. Limits civil immunity granted when a nuisance or damage results from gross negligence (was, negligently or improperly conducting prescribed burning).

Amends GS 106-968 to specify that the certified prescribed burner must prepare the prescription, provide the prescription to the landowner (previously, required to provide a copy to the landowner), and file the certified prescription with the Forest Service and DACS prior to conducting a prescribed burning. Requires the landowner and the certified prescribed burner on site to retain a copy of the certified prescription throughout the prescribed burning (previously, only the responsible burner was responsible for possessing a copy). Regarding the required content of the prescription, now requires the summary of the adequate methods for particular circumstances to be used to start, control, and extinguish the prescribed burning to address firebreaks and sufficient personnel and firefighting equipment to contain the fire within the burn area. Adds that fire spreading outside the authorized burn area on the day of the prescribed burn ignition does not constitute conclusive proof of inadequate firebreaks, insufficient personnel, or a lack of firefighting equipment; if the prescribed burn is contained within the authorized burn area during the authorized period, there is a rebuttable presumption that adequate firebreaks, sufficient personnel, and sufficient firefighting equipment were present; and continued smoldering of a prescribed burn resulting in a subsequent wildfire does not in itself constitute evidence of gross negligence, thereby eliminating the limited immunity granted in GS 106-967, as amended. Additionally, now requires the prescription to provide for reasonable notice of the prescribed burning to homes and businesses located adjacent to the burn site (was, nearby homes and businesses). 

Section 10

Enacts GS 15A-300.4, making it unlawful for a person, entity, or State agency to use an unmanned aircraft system within either a horizontal or vertical distance of 3,000 feet, calculated as described, from any forest fire within the jurisdiction of the Forest Service. Establishes three exceptions, including persons with written consent from the official in responsible charge of the fire's management, law enforcement acting within the authority described in GS 15A-300.1(c), or Forest Service employees or persons acting at their direction. Sets seven distinct penalties for violations based on the resulting circumstances of the violation, ranging from a Class D felony for violations that proximately cause the death of another person, a Class G felony for violations that interfere with emergency operations and proximately cause damage to real or personal property or matter or thing growing or being on the land, to a Class A1 misdemeanor for violations not specifically covered by the prescribed felony violations. Subjects all violations to a penalty of at least $1,000. Includes defined terms for various resulting injuries described in the statute's penalty provisions. Authorizes law enforcement to seize an unmanned aircraft system and any attached property used in violation of the statute, and subjects the property to forfeiture and disposition pursuant to State law. Provides the procedure for innocent owners or holders of security interest to apply for release of the property. Effective December 1, 2023, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

Section 11

Amends GS 14-135, which makes larceny of timber a Class G felony. Expands the offense to include: (1) knowingly and willfully aiding, hiring, or counseling an individual to cut down, injure, or remove any timber owned by another person without the consent of the owner of the land or the owner of the timber, or without a lawful easement running with the land; and (2) knowingly and willfully transporting forest products that have been cut down, removed, obtained, or acquired from the property of a landowner without the consent of the owner of the land or the owner of the timber, or without a lawful easement running with the land. Adds to the exceptions given for the offense persons who are electric power suppliers and either believed in good faith that consent of the owner had been obtained prior to aiding, hiring, or counseling the individual to cut down, injure, or remove the timber, or that the cutting down, injuring, or removing of the timber was permitted by a utility easement or was necessary to remove a tree hazard. Makes the previous definition given for "tree hazard" apply to the entire statute. Adds and defines "person" to mean any individual, association, consortium, corporation, partnership, unit of State or local government, or other group, entity, or organization. Effective December 1, 2023, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

Section 12

Replaces the provisions of GS 106-1003, which requires all monies paid to the DACS Commissioner for forestry services and advice to forestland owners and operators under Article 82 to be deposited to the State treasury to the credit of DACS. Establishes the Forestry Services and Advice Fund within DACS, Forest Service, and requires all such monies for services rendered to be deposited into the Fund. Allows the Fund to also consist of any gifts, bequests, or grants for the benefit of the Fund, but bars crediting General Fund appropriations. Directs DACS to use the Fund to develop, improve, repair, maintain, operate, and otherwise invest in providing forestry services and advice to forestland owners and operators pursuant to Article 82.

Section 13

Amends GS 113A-52.01, which defines the scope of the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act, Article 4. Requires waters that have been classified as trout waters by the Environmental Management Commission to have an undisturbed, vegetated buffer zone 25 feet wide where activities on agricultural land, exempt from the Article's requirements under subdivision (a)(1), are prohibited. Authorizes the Sedimentation Control Commission to approve plans that include land-disturbing activity within that buffer when the duration of the disturbance would be temporary and the extent minimal, at the Commission's discretion. Authorizes the Sedimentation Control Commission to take any action reasonably necessary to enforce the requirement. 

Section 14

Changes the definition of "farm digester system" in GS 143-213, applicable to Article 21, Water and Air Resources, to specifically include all manure management equipment and lagoon covers of described systems (was, all associated equipment and lagoon covers). Specifies that the term includes systems by which gases are collected and processed from an animal waste management system for the digestion of animal biomass that may be used (was, for use) as a renewable energy resource. 

Section 15

Requires the Environmental Management Commission to implement 15A NCAC 02B .0202, the Wetlands Definition Rule, by restricting wetlands classified as waters of the State to waters of the United States as defined by specified federal law. Directs the Environmental Management Commission to adopt a rule amending the Wetlands Definition Rule that is consistent with the described directive.

Section 16

Requires the Commission for Public Health to implement 15A NCAC 18E .0905, the Prefabricated Permeable Block Panel Systems Rule, by requiring prefabricated permeable block panel system trenches to be located a minimum of 8 feet on center or three times the trench width. For sand-lined trench systems, bed, or fill systems, prefabricated permeable block panel systems requires using the equivalent trench width of 6 feet to calculate the minimum trench length unless otherwise instructed by the manufacturer on a case-by-case basis. Caps the long term acceptance rate for prefabricated permeable block panel systems at 0.8 gallons per day per square foot. Authorizes using prefabricated permeable block panel systems in high strength wastewater systems or other system designs, but prohibits using prefabricated permeable block panel systems where effluent contains high amounts of grease and oil, such as restaurant. Directs the Public Health Commission to adopt a rule amending the Prefabricated Permeable Block Panel Systems Rule consistent with the described directive. 

Section 17

Amends GS 130A-343(h), regarding designation of an Innovative wastewater dispersal system or other approved trench dispersal system as an Accepted wastewater system, to prohibit the Commission for Public Health from including more restrictive conditions and limitations established in the approval of a wastewater system as Accepted that are not included in the approval of the wastewater system as an Innovative wastewater dispersal system. Establishes the following limitations that apply when the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) designates a wastewater dispersal system as an Accepted wastewater system: (1) limits the approval to the manufacturer who submitted the petition and received the Accepted status from the Commission for Public Health; and (2) prohibits the Commission, DHHS, or any local health department from conditioning, delaying, or denying the substitution of any Accepted wastewater dispersal system based on location of nitrification lines when all parts of the dispersal field can be installed within the approved initial dispersal field area while complying with all Commission rules. Eliminates authority for DHHS to recommend that the Commission for Public Health designate a nonproprietary wastewater system as an accepted wastewater system without having received a petition from the manufacturer. Enacts a new subsection, prohibiting DHHS or the Commission for Public Health from conditioning, delaying, or denying approval of the use of backfill material in subsurface trench dispersal products based on a non-native backfill requirement without prior approval of the manufacturer. Regarding approvals already issued by DHHS or the Commission for Public Health, requires DHHS or the Commission to reissue the approvals at the request of the manufacturer, without conditions or requirements relating to the use of non-native backfill material. Applies retroactively to any wastewater system approvals issued by the Commission for Public Health or DHHS. 

Section 18

Includes a severability clause.