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SARL Members and Alumni News

Texas Legislature to act on slow moving vehicle bills

Texas Farm Bureau | Posted on April 11, 2019

When it’s safe, most tractor drivers pull over and let traffic pass. The problem is that Texas law does not currently include farm equipment in the legal definition of vehicles that may drive on the road shoulder. Bills in the Texas Legislature this session could fix that. Everyone is busy and often impatient these days. It can certainly be annoying to be stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle. However, a collision with a tractor could change our perception of busy schedules.

Georgia Legislature votes to weaken opioid prescription monitoring

Pew Trust | Posted on April 11, 2019

In the midst of an opioid epidemic, the Georgia Legislature has voted to weaken enforcement of one of the investigative tools used against it.On Tuesday the General Assembly voted to take away the ability of the Georgia Composite Medical Board to discipline doctors who fail to register for an opioid prescription tracking database.

‘Opportunity Zones’ Spur New State Tax Incentives

Pew Trust | Posted on April 11, 2019

Governors helped the U.S. Treasury Department choose nearly 9,000 economically distressed “opportunity zones” where people can get a tax break for investing in certain businesses and properties. But the 2017 federal tax law that created the zones doesn’t allow governors or state lawmakers to steer investors’ money into certain projects. They’re trying to influence the market anyway.This year 17 state legislatures have considered opportunity zone bills, including proposals for additional tax breaks to lure investors or encourage certain projects, such as affordable housing or solar energy development, according to Novogradac & Co. LLP, an accounting and consulting firm that is keeping track.The federal government is expected to announce a second round of proposed opportunity zone regulations any day now, which would give many investors confidence to start striking deals.

Farmers, hunters spar over elk damage bills

Capital Press | Posted on April 11, 2019

Legislation aimed at reducing crop damage from elk has pitted Oregon agriculture groups against hunting organizations that say the proposals will allow for irresponsible killing. The state House and Senate are considering bills under which the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife would issue tags with more flexible rules for killing elk that consume hay, trample fields and damage fences.Proponents of House Bill 3227 and Senate Bill 301 argue that existing tools for managing elk damage have proven to be insufficient as populations of the ungulates have increased.“It’s like someone coming into your living room every month and saying, ‘Give me 25% of your income,’” said Rep. Greg Barreto, R-Cove, chief sponsor of HB 3227.The specifics of each proposal are different but both would call for damage tags to be issued to “persons” rather than “landowners,” which hunting organizations claim will greatly expand the field of people who qualify to kill elk.

Clock runs out on Oregon industrial dairy bills

Capital Press | Posted on April 11, 2019

Proposals to treat large Oregon dairies as industrial facilities met with an uproar of objections but have quietly died due to a legislative deadline. Dairy farmers crammed a hearing room at the Oregon Capitol in Salem last month to testify against bills that would eliminate “right to farm” protections for large dairies.Losing those protections would leave large dairies vulnerable to lawsuits over nuisance and trespass as well as local ordinances regulating their operations.The Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources did not schedule a work session to vote on either proposal by the March 29 deadline, killing Senate Bill 104, which would classify large dairies as industrial, and Senate Bill 104, which would prohibit new construction of large dairies and impose air and water restrictions.

Mass. prisons start offering medication to treat addiction

Boston Globe | Posted on April 11, 2019

For the first time, Massachusetts prisons are providing a medication to treat opioid addiction to newly arriving inmates, as the state launches a groundbreaking program established by legislation passed last year. For now, the Department of Correction is providing just one of the two medications required under the law, which took effect Monday.Still, the change puts Massachusetts ahead of most prisons and jails in the country, where the medications are usually denied.


Medical marijuana sales approved by Georgia Legislature

Atlanta Journal Constitution | Posted on April 11, 2019

Medical marijuana sales are coming to Georgia eventually, but a bill that lawmakers passed late Tuesday contains substantial hurdles before the state’s 8,400 registered patients can buy the drug.The General Assembly approved a unique distribution system that could force patients to wait months or years before they’re legally able to obtain medical marijuana oil here.

Opioid Crisis ‘Kingpin’ Is Oklahoma’s New Target in Lawsuit

Pew Trust | Posted on April 11, 2019

After securing a hefty financial settlement from Purdue Pharma last month, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is training the state’s legal armaments on a much bigger pharmaceutical player: Johnson & Johnson. The company already has become a popular target. Many of the more than 1,600 opioid lawsuits in state and federal courts name Johnson & Johnson, even though its analgesic products account for less than 1% of the U.S. opioid market.But Oklahoma might be charting new legal territory in its recent salvo against the multinational manufacturer of drugs, medical devices and popular brands of baby shampoo and baby powder.Hoping to unseal millions of pages of company documents, Oklahoma’s lawyers contend that Johnson & Johnson did more than push its own pills — it also profited from the prescription opioid crisis through its ownership of a poppy producer in Australia (Tasmanian Alkaloids) and a U.S. importer of raw materials used to make opioids (Noramco).  

6 states, DC sue over changes to school lunch rules

Ap News | Posted on April 11, 2019

Six states and the District of Columbia sued the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday, saying it weakened nutritional standards in school breakfasts and lunches when it relaxed the requirements affecting salt and refined grains last year. The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court asked a judge to overturn the changes, saying they were carried out in an arbitrary and capricious manner.The government “significantly weakened” nutritional standards for sodium and whole grains, according to the lawsuit, without giving the public a chance to comment on them and in opposition to nutritional requirements for school meals set by Congress.The states and D.C. said the standards should be based on recommendations of the U.S. government’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” the National Academy of Sciences and scientific research regarding children’s nutrition.

Governors call for change in flood management

WOWT | Posted on April 11, 2019

The met Wednesday afternoon with members of the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA to review the status of flood recovery and map out a direction toward critical improvements need to prevent this from happening in the future. The three governors addressed reporters after their session.Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said, "We need to look at this from a regional perspective." She said it needs to be addressed in terms of the short and long term response."Governor Pete Ricketts said, "By the three of us being here it demonstrates how important it is for our states." He said, "We have to do something different along the river."Ricketts said they asked to Corps to come back to them with some answers about how to avoid this from happening again.Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said, "I think it's time we need some straight-up answers from the Corps." He said whatever options they come up with, "we need those options on the table."