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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Umstead Act

by Laura Young Baxley, 2006

The Umstead Act, named for U.S. congressman and North Carolina governor William B. Umstead and passed originally in 1939, was enacted by the North Carolina legislature to prevent state-owned agencies from selling merchandise in direct competition with private merchants. The act was passed in an attempt to prevent the government from competing with its taxpaying citizens. The original act excluded several state-run institutions from the law, including counties and municipalities, the North Carolina School for the Blind, state correctional institutions or agencies, and others. Since its ratification in 1939, the act has been amended several times. In 1973 a large amendment to the Umstead Act was ratified, creating further exceptions and updating its provisions. Some colleges are mentioned in the original act, and in 1973 the exemption was expanded to all the campuses in the University of North Carolina System. In 1997 exemptions were extended to the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro.

Additional Resources:

The Umstead Act, NC General Assembly:

The Umstead Act, UNC School System: