The New Hampshire House on Tuesday passed two gun control bills, one requiring background checks for all firearms sales and another imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a gun.The Democratic majority in the House also defeated a Republican sponsored bill that would have expanded the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law to allow the use of deadly force in defending a third party or “other” against any felony offense.HB 109, requiring universal background checks, passed 203-148, along mostly partisan lines. No Republicans voted for the bill, but seven Democrats voted against it.
Hawaii would be the first state in the U.S. to ban most plastics at restaurants under legislation that aims to cut down on waste that pollutes the ocean. Dozens of cities nationwide have banned plastic foam containers, but Hawaii’s measure targeting fast-food and full-service restaurants would make it the first state to do so. The liberal state has a history of prioritizing the environment — it’s mandated renewable energy use and prohibited sunscreen ingredients that harm coral.
As more consumers shop at farmers markets and “eat local,” U.S. local food sales, including cottage-food sales, have soared from $5 billion annually in 2008 to a projected $20 billion this year. Every state except New Jersey now allows home-kitchen cooks to make and sell non-hazardous foods with a low risk of causing foodborne illness such as baked goods, jams, jellies and other items that do not require time and temperature controls for food safety.Maine, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming have gone further, enacting “food freedom” laws that exempt home producers from food-safety rules that apply to grocery stores, restaurants and other food establishments.Advocates see food freedom as a matter of personal liberty and think informed consumers can make their own choices. The issue is a cause among those who want less government regulation.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Chapter 4, S.F. 2225 into law. The bill amends the farm disaster recovery loan program to add “the weight of snow, sleet or ice” as conditions for which a farmer is eligible to participate in the program. It allows the Rural Finance Authority (RFA) to determine whether a weather event constitutes an emergency.
On Friday, March 15, lawmakers from the state of Colorado introduced a bipartisan bill calling for the study of how blockchain technology might be applied to the state's agricultural industry. House Bill 1247 is championed in the house by representatives Donald Valdez and Mark Catlin, with state senators Kerry Donovan and Don Coram also sponsoring. The bill calls for the state's commissioner of agriculture to develop an advisory group to study possible use cases for blockchain technology in agricultural operations.
Georgia lawmakers on Monday passed legislation to create an oyster farming industry in the state despite opposition from fishermen and environmentalists who consider it too restrictive. With a vote of 35-19 in the senate, H.B. 501, which passed the house last week, now goes to the desk of Gov. Brian Kemp.
The Wyoming Department of Agriculture is beginning the process of regulating industrial hemp in Wyoming following the passage of HB171/HEA No. 0110 and Gov. Mark Gordon's signature.
Exasperated local officials told Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday about lost farms and businesses due to flooding, ongoing river breaches, the need for higher levees and their concern about a lack of information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flooding over the weekend in the Missouri River Basin quickly became more destructive than flooding the region faced in the spring and summer of 2011. Levees that held back the river eight years ago collapsed and were undermined by heavy water coming from multiple rivers. Levee breaches and topping continue down into northwest Missouri, as well.Carol Vinton, chairwoman of the Mills County Board of Supervisors, told Reynolds on Monday she was frustrated there wasn't more forewarning about the possible risks of such flooding in early March. Just over a week ago, most of the region was facing freezing temperatures and standing snow that quickly turned into a flood risk.
A national animal rights group will ask millions of its supporters to boycott vacationing in Iowa to protest the state's new "ag gag" law. "People who care about animal rights, who don't want abusers protected, won't be visiting Iowa," said David Matulewicz-Crowley, legal advocacy counsel for Mercy For Animals.Animal welfare groups say the law prevents exposure of abuses, such as slamming piglets into concrete floors and confining animals in small cages.Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new "ag gag" law Thursday that makes it a crime for journalists and advocacy groups to go undercover at meatpacking plants, livestock facilities and other ag operations to investigate working conditions, animal welfare, food safety and other concerns.Lawmakers said the bill is needed to help protect pig, cattle and other livestock operations from biosecurity threats.
The Canadian government is investing up to $31 million to increase the number of meat-sniffing dogs in its employ as Canada’s pork industry remain on edge about a global outbreak of a deadly pork virus called African Swine Fever.