GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SESSION LAW 1998-154
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
Section 1. Chapter 106 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:
"Horse Industry Promotion Act.
"§ 106-820. Title.
This Article may be cited as the Horse Industry Promotion Act.
"§ 106-821. Findings.
The General Assembly finds that the horse industry makes an important contribution to the State's economy, and that it is appropriate for the State to provide a means for horse owners to voluntarily assess themselves in order to provide funds to promote the interests of the horse industry.
"§ 106-822. Definitions.
As used in this Article:
(1) 'Commercial horse feed' means any commercial feed, as defined in G.S. 106-284.33, labeled for equine use.
(2) 'Council' means the North Carolina Horse Council.
(3) 'Department' means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(4) 'Equine' means a horse, pony, mule, donkey, or hinny.
(5) 'Horse owner' means a person who (i) is a North Carolina resident and (ii) owns or leases an equine.
"§ 106-823. Referendum.
(a) The Council may conduct a referendum among horse owners upon the question of whether an assessment shall be levied consistent with this Article.
(b) The Council shall determine all of the following:
(1) The amount of the proposed assessment, not to exceed two dollars ($2.00) per ton of commercial horse feed.
(2) The period for which the assessment shall be levied, not to exceed three years.
(3) The time and place of the referendum.
(4) Procedures for conducting the referendum and counting votes.
(5) Any other matters pertaining to the referendum.
(c) The amount of the proposed assessment and the method of collection shall be set forth on the ballot.
(d) All horse owners are eligible to vote in the referendum. The Council shall send press releases about the referendum to at least 10 daily and 10 weekly or biweekly newspapers having general circulation in a county in the State, and to any trade journals deemed appropriate by the Council. Notice of the referendum also shall be posted in every place the Council identifies as selling commercial horse feed. Any questions concerning eligibility to vote shall be resolved by the board of directors of the Council.
"§ 106-824. Majority vote required; collection of assessment.
(a) The assessment shall not be collected unless a majority of the votes cast in the referendum are in favor of the assessment. If a majority of the votes cast in the referendum are in favor of the assessment, the Department shall notify all commercial horse feed manufacturers and distributors of the assessment. The assessment shall apply to all commercial horse feed subject to the provisions of G.S. 106-284.40(b), and the assessment shall be remitted to the Department with the inspection fee imposed by G.S. 106-284.40. The Department shall provide forms for reporting the assessment. Persons who purchase commercial horse feed on which the assessment has not been paid shall report these purchases and pay the assessment to the Department.
(b) The Council may bring an action to collect unpaid assessments against any feed manufacturer or distributor who fails to pay the assessment.
"§ 106-825. Use of funds; refunds.
(a) The Department shall remit all funds collected under this Article to the Council at least quarterly. The Council shall use these funds to promote the interests of the horse industry and may use these funds for those administrative expenses that are reasonably necessary to carry out this function.
(b) Any person who purchases commercial horse feed upon which the assessment has been paid shall have the right to receive a refund of the assessment by making demand in writing to the Council within one year of purchase of the feed. This demand shall be accompanied by proof of purchase satisfactory to the Council."
Section 2. G.S. 106-550 reads as rewritten:
"§ 106-550. Policy as to promotion of use of, and markets for, farm products.
It is declared to be in the interest of the public welfare
that the North Carolina farmers who are producers of livestock, poultry, field
crops and other agricultural products, including cattle, sheep, broilers,
turkeys, commercial eggs, peanuts, cotton, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peaches,
apples, berries, vegetables and other fruits of all kinds, as well as bulbs and
flowers and other agricultural products having a domestic or foreign market,
shall be permitted and encouraged to act jointly and in cooperation with
growers, handlers, dealers and processors of such products in promoting and
stimulating, by advertising and other methods, the increased production, use
and sale, domestic and foreign, of any and all of such agricultural commodities.
The provisions of this Article, however, shall not include the agricultural
products of tobacco, strawberries, strawberry plants,
animals, or equines, with respect to which separate provisions have been
Section 3. This act is effective when it becomes law.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 16th day of September, 1998.
Approved 3:32 p.m. this 24th day of September, 1998