- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Complaints and investigatory records about alleged environmental violations at North Carolina farms would be confidential and not subject to public review under legislation making its way through the Senate.

An agriculture committee Tuesday approved a bill that would exempt investigatory records at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources about potential wrongdoing from the public records law. A court could release the records.

The bill also prohibits local governments from regulating the use or sale of fertilizer, leaving it to the state except in rare cases. Landscape contractors would have to be licensed by the state. Illegal trespassing on farm property also could be a felony if a person intends to disrupt the operation. All-terrain vehicle riders also would now need written consent to drive on private property.

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