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Capitol Roundup is NC Farms Bureau’s weekly video and email report that summarizes key legislative developments and explains in clear terms how those developments affect agriculture.

Farm Act Advances in the House (June 3, 2023)

This week the NC Farm Act of 2023, SB 582,  saw its first votes in the House Agriculture Committee, and passed with a few additions. The bill will likely move through other committees of jurisdiction and the House floor next week.

The House Agriculture Committee’s additions to the bill include:

  • A requirement that the Department of Environmental Quality reopen the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit issued for aquatic animal operations that took effect in December 2021. The legislation directs the agency to match the general permit issued in previous years, which was less burdensome to trout farmers.
  • The designation of the second Wednesday in November of each year as North Carolina Farmers Appreciation Day, beginning in 2024.  North Carolina Farm Bureau is named as one of the agricultural groups that would help promote the annual event.
  • An amendment to the well drilling provision to allow retired well drillers a pathway to re-enter the profession after retirement.
  • An amendment to align fees charged for animal waste management to be consistent with wastewater operator fees.
  • Clarifications made to a section that creates penalties for leaving the scene of an animal waste spill. The provision would not apply to livestock or poultry waste or feathers generated by live animals.
  • A provision to allow farm equipment operators the same legal defense as motorcycle drivers when their equipment is not able to trigger the inductive loop at an intersection controlled by a vehicle-actuated traffic signal and the operator finds it necessary to proceed through a red light.

Also this week, the House and Senate continued budget negotiations. As a reminder, the final version of the budget will be in the form of a conference report, meaning no changes can be made once it is released for a vote.

We’re also watching Greater Accountability for Boards/Commissions, SB 512, which the House approved and sent to the Governor this week. The bill changes the makeup and appointment authorities for some boards and commissions. A provision in this bill would give the Commissioner of Agriculture two appointments to the Environmental Management Commission.

For more information about these bills or any others of interest, visit the North Carolina General Assembly website, www.ncleg.gov. Bills are searchable by bill number and subject.

Stay up to date with the latest agriculture news from NC Farm Bureau.

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