106-65.103. Payment of fees; licenses.

(a) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall administer and enforce this Article. A person who has done business in this State throughout the preceding calendar year shall obtain a license by paying a fee to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in an amount determined by the total number of bedding units manufactured, sold, or sanitized in this State by the applicant during the calendar year immediately preceding, at the rate of five and two tenths cents (5.2) per bedding unit. However, if this amount is less than fifty dollars ($50.00), a minimum fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) shall be paid to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

(b) A person who has not done business in this State throughout the preceding calendar year shall obtain a license by paying an initial fee to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in the amount of seven hundred twenty dollars ($720.00) for the first year in which business is done in this State, prorated in accordance with the quarter of the calendar year in which the person begins doing business. After submission of proof of business volume in accordance with subsection (h) of this section for the part of the preceding calendar year in which the person did business in this State, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall determine the amount of fee for which the person is responsible for that time period by using a rate of five and two tenths cents (5.2) for each bedding unit. However, if this amount is less than fifty dollars ($50.00), then the amount of the fee for which the person is responsible shall be fifty dollars ($50.00). If the person's initial payment is more than the amount of the fee for which the person is responsible, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall make a refund or adjustment to the cost of the fee due for the next year in the amount of the difference. If the initial payment is less than the amount of the fee for which the person is responsible, the person shall pay the difference to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

(c) Payments, refunds, and adjustments shall be made in accordance with rules adopted by the Board of Agriculture.

(d) Upon payment of the fees charged pursuant to subsections (c) and (d), or the first installment thereof as provided by rules adopted by the Board of Agriculture, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall issue a license to the person. Licenses shall be kept conspicuously posted in the place of business of the licensee at all times. The Commissioner of Agriculture may suspend a license for a maximum of six months for two or more serious violations of this Article or of the rules of the Board of Agriculture within any 12-month period.

(e) A maximum fee of seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00) shall be charged for units of bedding manufactured in this State but not sold in this State.

(f) For the sole purpose of computing fees for which a person is responsible, the following definitions shall apply: One mattress is defined as one bedding unit; one upholstered spring is defined as one bedding unit; one pad is defined as one bedding unit; one sleeping bag is defined as one bedding unit; five comforters, pillows or decorative pillows are defined as one bedding unit; and any other item is defined as one bedding unit.

(g) An application for license must be submitted on a form prescribed by the Commissioner of Agriculture. No license may be issued to a person unless the person complies with the rules of the Board of Agriculture governing the granting of licenses.

(h) The Board of Agriculture shall adopt rules for the proper enforcement of this section. The rules shall include provisions governing the type and amount of proof which must be submitted by the applicant to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in order to establish the number of bedding units that were, during the preceding calendar year:

(1) Manufactured and sold in this State;

(2) Manufactured outside of this State and sold in this State; and

(3) Manufactured in this State but not sold in this State.

(i) The Board of Agriculture may provide in its rules for additional proof of the number of bedding units sold during the preceding calendar year when it has reason to believe that the proof submitted by the manufacturer is incomplete, misleading or incorrect. (1937, c. 298, s. 5; 1949, c. 636; 1957, c. 1357, s. 1; 1965, c. 579, s. 3; 1967, c. 771; 1971, c. 371, ss. 4-7; 1973, s. 476, s. 128; 1983, c. 891, s. 2; 1987, c. 456, s. 7; 2011-145, s. 13.3(v), (dd).)