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SARL Members and Alumni News

Running As An Independent: Liberating But Tough

NPR | Posted on February 27, 2018

Northwest Iowa is one of the safest places for Republicans in the country. t's represented in the U.S. Congress by hardliner Steve King, who has a long history of controversial positions and comments. But David Johnson also represents part of northwest Iowa. And while King might look to the White House and see a kindred spirit, Johnson calls Donald Trump's rhetoric "misogynistic," "race-baiting," and "bigoted." David Johnson is a former dairy farmer who's been a senator in the state legislature since 2003. He was a prominent local leader for both George W. Bush and Mitt Romney during their presidential campaigns but left his party after Donald Trump became its presidential nominee in 2016. Now he's running as an independent, and he's not alone. Bob Krist, a Nebraska state legislator and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, is running as an independent in that state's gubernatorial election. Kansas City attorney Craig O'Dear also left the Republican Party and is campaigning for the U.S. Senate in Missouri. In Iowa, Sen. Johnson is facing Republican Zach Whiting, an aide to Rep. King, in November. No Democrat has announced yet.

New Jersey joins coalition backing Paris climate change deal

Washington Examiner | Posted on February 26, 2018

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill joining a coalition of states committed to cutting emissions of carbon dioxide to fulfill the United States' pledge under the Paris international climate change agreement. Murphy’s action requires New Jersey to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of 15 other states and Puerto Rico vowing to uphold the Paris Agreement. Both chambers of the state legislature passed a bill to put New Jersey in the alliance. The alliance, which includes California, represents at least $7 trillion of economic activity and about 40 percent of the nation's population.

Bill would preempt local control of oil and gas production in Utah

Deseret News | Posted on February 26, 2018

The Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee endorsed legislation that would put into law the "bright line of authority" Utah has over oil and gas production, as opposed to state and local government. SB191, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal, establishes that state authority in instances where state and local government may pass ordinances and rules that thwart mineral production.  Van Tassell explained there may be instances where owners of surface and mineral rights are at odds with each other, but the state has clear interest in the production of those mineral rights. In other parts of the country, too, state and local government have adopted ordinances to prohibit oil or gas production. This proposal would be prevent that.

Opponents of NH animal cruelty bill cite HSUS extortion

Laconia Daily Sun | Posted on February 22, 2018

 Dog owners, breeders, and farmers who testified against an animal cruelty bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) said, while its intentions are good, they fear it would open the door to abuse and intimidation by animal rights activists, unfairly discriminate against the poor, and allow extortion by the agencies providing emergency care. They point to the judgment against Christina Fay, the Wolfeboro woman convicted of animal cruelty after authorities seized 84 Great Danes that were living in squalid conditions. Last December, Circuit Judge Charles Greenhalgh found Fay guilty and gave her a one-year suspended jail sentence, ordering her to pay the entire amount that the prosecution had asked for: $773,887.63 sought by the Humane Society of the United States, $16,300 by the town of Wolfeboro, and $1,500 by Pope Memorial SPCA of Concord Merrimack County.The sentence has been stayed because of Fay's appeal to Carroll County Superior Court, but the breakdown of charges by the Humane Society shows that only $154,375.66 went to the direct care of the seized dogs. The remaining $619,511.97 is attributed to consulting fees ($245,429.88), travel by plane, train, and automobile ($151,138.36), meals ($23,841.98), and lodging ($117,490.01), with minor amounts going to office expenses, trash removal, and even an $88.63 charge for “Prize/Awards Payments.”Jay Phinizy of Ackworth, a former state representative who raises hunting dogs, believes existing laws are sufficient to deal with animal cruelty, if they are only enforced, and that Bradley’s bill is flawed by being rushed into law without sufficient study.

Washington House OKs bill to move wolves

Capital Press | Posted on February 22, 2018

The state House this week showed strong support for redistributing wolves in Washington, except from lawmakers whose districts could be candidates for taking in wolves. The House voted 85-13 on Tuesday to direct the Department of Fish and Wildlife to study moving wolves from Eastern Washington to Western Washington. The “no” votes, three Democrats and 10 Republicans, were cast by westside legislators whose districts include expansive tracts of wildlife habitat.

Bill would help grow chicken industry in Kansas: report

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 22, 2018

egislation introduced in the Kansas Senate defining parameters for chicken houses would help expand the state’s currently modest chicken industry and is endorsed by Kansas State University faculty and county economic development groups. State officials and university ag experts testified this week that the poultry industry represents the one area of animal agriculture that is expanding, and said the bill would not weaken state environmental standards.

Idaho bill clarifies who owns stock watering rights on federal land

Capital Press | Posted on February 22, 2018

A bill that would further codify in state law a landmark Idaho Supreme Court decision on who owns stock watering rights on federally administered land has been sent to the House floor with a “do-pass” recommendation.

Georgia: Legislation introduced for rural prosperity center

Valdosta Daily Times | Posted on February 22, 2018

State Rep. Jason Shaw, R-Lakeland, introduced legislation that would create the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation. “Our state has experienced tremendous economic success in recent years, and we are proud to be named the number one state in the country to do business or five consecutive years,” Shaw said. “However, this significant growth has been largely focused within the Metro Atlanta region, and rural Georgia has not seen the same level of economic prosperity. Rural Georgia faces distinct economic challenges, and with this legislation, we could continue to study these issues. "The Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation would provide a central location for research and information on rural development, which is crucial to enhancing economic opportunities in these regions.”

Montana first state to prorect net nuetrality | Posted on February 22, 2018

Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order to protect net neutrality in Montana by requiring that successful recipients of state contracts adhere to internet neutrality principles. As the first governor in the country to implement action in the wake of the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules, Governor Bullock invited other governors and statehouses to join him. Governor Bullock’s administration will offer the framework to other states who wish to follow. The executive order notably sets the terms on which the State of Montana will be making purchases and makes a preference for a free and open internet clear. The State of Montana is a significant purchaser of internet services.

Six Tennessee ag businesses awarded grants from state

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 22, 2018

The Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture has recognized the first round of recipients of grants aimed at supporting rural agricultural programs in the Volunteer State. The grants from the Agricultural Enterprise Fund (AEF) are part of a plan to facilitate job creation, economic development and agricultural development in rural Tennessee, the agency said in a news release.