Last week the General Assembly overrode Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of SB 711, NC Farm Act of 2018. Citing concerns about its right-to-farm provision, Cooper vetoed the Farm Act last Monday night several hours after a large rally of farmers organized by N.C. Farm Bureau and other commodity associations. The right-to-farm section of the bill strengthens the law that protects all North Carolina farmers from nuisance lawsuits. Specifically, it establishes an objective standard by which a person may bring a nuisance lawsuit against a farm and limits punitive damage awards to situations in which a farmer has violated state or federal law. The Senate voted to override the veto on Tuesday by a bipartisan 37-9 vote. The House followed suit on Wednesday, voting 74-45 on a bipartisan basis to enact the bill into law.
Also during the week, the Legislature adopted several bills that added proposed constitutional amendments to the November General Election ballot. Among those bills was SB 677, Protect Right to Hunt and Fish, which proposes to amend the State Constitution by declaring the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife a constitutional right, subject to laws enacted by the General Assembly. HB 1092, Const. Amendment – Require Photo ID to Vote, was also included in the group of constitutional amendment bills. That measure placed on the ballot the question of amending the State Constitution to require voters to present photo identification before casting their ballots.
The Legislature’s work for the summer is now complete; however, it has not technically adjourned for the year. The General Assembly will return to Raleigh on Nov. 27 for the purpose of, among other things, adopting legislation that might be necessary to implement any of the constitutional amendments approved by North Carolina’s voters during the November election. Accordingly, this will be the last Capitol Roundup until late November or early December.
As always, thank you for engaging with your Legislators during the short session. It was a successful one for Farm Bureau and North Carolina agriculture!