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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 48-23-275 SO AS TO REQUIRE A PERSON WHO GATHERS PINE STRAW FOR THE PURPOSE OF SELLING IT TO OBTAIN WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE LANDOWNER TO HARVEST THE PINE STRAW, TO REQUIRE THE EXECUTION OF A CERTIFICATE OF HARVEST BY A LANDOWNER IN ORDER FOR A PERSON TO GATHER, BALE, TRANSPORT, OR SELL PINE STRAW, AND TO PROVIDE CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 23, Title 48 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 48-23-275. (A) As used in this section:
(1) 'Landowner' means the person who owns land on which pine straw is harvested or the person having possession, control, or use of such land who has lawful authority to grant permission to harvest pine straw from the land.
(2) 'Harvester' means a person who gathers pine straw from its site of origin for the purpose of commerce in straw as a commodity.
(3) 'Harvesting' means the various methods or processes of gathering pine straw for preservation, storage, use, or sale.
(4) 'Person' means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, or any other legal entity.
(5) 'Pine straw' means the dead needles of coniferous evergreen trees which have separated from the trees to which they were originally attached.
(6) 'Pine straw dealer' means a person who purchases or otherwise obtains pine straw from a seller or landowner for the purpose of resale at wholesale or retail, or both.
(7) 'Seller' means a person who exchanges pine straw for money or for any other valuable consideration.
(B)(1) As a condition of selling pine straw within the State, the harvester shall present to the pine straw dealer a certificate of harvest. A certificate of harvest must be a written or printed document granting permission for the harvest of the pine straw, signed by the landowner from whose property the pine straw was harvested.
(2) A certificate of harvest must include:
(a) the name, address, telephone number, and signature of the landowner who granted permission to harvest the pine straw;
(b) the name, address, telephone number, and signature of the authorized harvester of the pine straw;
(c) the location of the harvest, which shall include the state and county where harvested;
(d) the starting date and ending date of the authorized harvest period, not to exceed twelve months; and
(e) a statement substantially the same as the following:
'BY LAW YOU ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE IN YOUR POSSESSION A 'CERTIFICATE OF HARVEST' FOR EACH LANDOWNER UPON WHICH STRAW IS HARVESTED'.
(3) A landowner, selling straw directly to a dealer, shall execute the certificate of harvest, signing as both the landowner and harvester.
(C)(1) It is unlawful for a harvester to engage in raking, gathering, baling, or transporting pine straw without having in immediate possession a properly executed certificate of harvest from the landowner of the property from which the straw originates.
(2) It is unlawful for a harvester, or for any pine straw dealer, to buy, sell, or offer to sell pine straw within the State without a properly executed certificate of harvest for the straw involved in the transaction.
(D) A law enforcement officer may, based on probable cause, issue a citation for violation of this section, and may furthermore seize any pine straw in possession of the violator until its rightful owner may be determined.
(E) If ownership of pine straw seized under this section cannot be determined after a reasonable effort within thirty days, the seized straw may be disposed of at the discretion of the court.
(F) This section must not be construed so as to affect any farmer or other person harvesting or handling pine straw for home or personal use.
(G) A person violating a provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined in an amount to be determined by the court. Charges under this section do not preclude charges for associated violations including, but not limited to, larceny, trespassing, and removing forest products without permission."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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