RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — New regulations shielding North Carolina farms from publicly disclosing unfounded complaints against them are headed to the governor's desk for approval.
The House approved the bill Friday, a day after it cleared the Senate.
Under the bill, records could be released only by court order if the state determines a violation has occurred. The state could also refuse a complaint if it finds the complaint was made in bad faith.
Environmental groups say the bill unfairly shields operators from public scrutiny and discourages citizens from reporting violations. Officials with the North Carolina Farm Bureau say the regulations would help protect farmers from the stigma of false complaints.
State officials say the bill will not stop inspectors from reviewing complaints and encourages citizens to report potential violations of the law.