A plan to create an academic center focusing on the needs of rural Georgia cleared a milestone, but conversations about funding still await lawmakers. House lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the measure, sending it to the Senate. The proposal comes from the House Rural Development Council, which has offered several bills aimed at addressing the woes of rural Georgia. Shaw’s measure creates the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation, which would be housed within a university that offers a bachelor’s in rural community development – a requirement that appears to favor Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.
Lost Valley Farm opened in April 2017 near Boardman along the Columbia River in north central Oregon to supply the Tillamook County Creamery Association, which makes Tillamook Cheese. Its wastewater permit allows up to 30,000 animals and 187 million gallons of manure per year.Regulators approved the dairy despite objections from about 4,000 people and a dozen state and national health and environment organizations raising concerns about air and water pollution, water use and health impacts on nearby communities.Since then the dairy has failed numerous inspections, has been cited four times and has been fined $10,640.Each citation included steps the dairy was required to take to remain in operation. Each time, the dairy failed to comply with most of those requirements, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said in the lawsuit filed last week. As a result, liquid manure and wastewater has repeatedly overflowed storage lagoons and seeped into soil. The lawsuit seeks an immediate and permanent injunction prohibiting the dairy from creating any more wastewater.
A U.S. District Court judge has denied Iowa’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s “ag gag” law. In October, a coalition of groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Center for Food Safety, and Public Justice filed the lawsuit, claiming the law violates Iowans’ First Amendment right to free speech. The suit was filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
Any legislation that would increase the tax burden for Nebraska farmers deserves a quick and unceremonious defeat in the Unicameral. We’re speaking specifically about LB1022, a proposal to tax irrigation water. The idea makes little sense because farmers and ranchers already are paying more than their fair share in property taxes and are struggling to turn a profit, so why has Columbus state Sen. Paul Schumacher proposed taxing irrigation wells? Schumacher is regarded as one of the most intelligent state senators, but he’s casting doubt on his intellectual capacities with LB1022.The bill would create a one-cent tax on every 10 gallons of water pumped from an irrigation well capable of producing at least 5,000 gallons of water per day.The daily total for a 5,000-gallon well would be $5. That sum doesn’t sound like a lot, but multiply it times five wells, and a 50-day irrigation season would result in added taxes of $1,250.Schumacher thinks his irrigation tax could provide needed revenue for schools, which shows his heart is in the right place, it’s just not pumping blood to his brain. Added taxes could further cripple farmers and ranchers, undermining our state’s No.1 industry that contributes $11 billion annually to the Nebraska economy and is responsible for more than 31,000 jobs.
A country club luncheon. A $130 steak dinner. A whiskey tasting. Dinner at an historic neo-Georgian mansion. These are just a few examples of the many occasions last year when oil and gas lobbyists wined and dined West Virginia state lawmakers on key committees that craft fossil fuel legislation. Lobbyists representing industry players including natural gas giant EQT, Antero Resources, TransCanada, and multiple oil and gas trade associations wooed state lawmakers with thousands of dollars’ worth of food and drink throughout 2017, according to lobbying records
A carbon tax bill in the Washington Senate seeks to shelter farmers from higher fuel costs and calls for investing in rural economies with electric vehicles, public transit and a faster internet to encourage telecommuting. Farm groups and rural Republican legislators, however, have not warmed to the bill.
With the popularity of craft beer on the rise, state legislators across the nation have been re-examining their laws to allow for greater growth in the industry, from statutory changes that help increase production to the removal of restrictions on self-distribution. That trend has continued in 2018, with South Dakota and Kansas among the states exploring proposals to assist craft brewers.
Over the next 12 years, Iowa will commit an additional $282 million to water quality, the result of legislation passed early in 2018 after years of unsuccessful legislative initiatives in past sessions. Even with SF 512 now law, Rep. John Wills says, it still is only “the beginning of the conversation [on water quality], not the end” in Iowa. The measure was passed along a party-line vote, with opponents expressing concern that the bill does not do enough to hold accountable those who receive dollars from the state — either through the benchmark goals or the ongoing testing of waterways. No new tax dollars will be raised under SF 512. Instead, a mix of existing revenue sources will be used — for example, money from a tax on metered drinking water will gradually be diverted from the general fund, and, starting in 2021, some state gambling revenue will be used.
The annual State of the State addresses that kick off legislative sessions typically include myriad proposals for new laws and government initiatives, and this year was no different. Here is a brief look around the region at nine ideas — one from each of the nine speeches from January.
Utah officials are working to reorganize the Utah Beef Council as the state faces a lawsuit from a rancher arguing that the council’s collection of a checkoff fee is unconstitutional because it supports political speech and lacks transparency.