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SARL Members and Alumni News

‘Giving dogs a fighting chance’: Florida lawmakers seek hurricane lifeline for pets

Tampa Bay Times | Posted on March 25, 2019

Senate Bill 1738 would create a first-degree misdemeanor for leaving pets restrained or unattended during a natural or manmade disaster.

Virginia Governor approves law requiring Dominion to excavate all coal ash

Utility Dive | Posted on March 25, 2019

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, D, on Wednesday signed into law a bipartisan bill that would require Dominion Energy to excavate all the coal ash at their coal plants in the state, over 27 million cubic yards. The bill, first introduced in January, will also require that at least a quarter of the waste be recycled. The remaining ash would have to be moved into fully lined basins to prevent further groundwater contamination. Dominion Energy had originally indicated its preference for a "cap in place" closure, the favored method of most utilities, but an analysis released by Dominion in November found that it would be more cost effective to recycle a portion of the ash and sell it to interested bidders than initially reported.

Oregon bills would end "right-to-farm" protections for large dairies

Capital Press | Posted on March 25, 2019

A defunct Oregon dairy with an extensive history of wastewater problems loomed large over a legislative hearing March 21 about proposals to overhaul state dairy regulations. Proponents of changing the existing rules for "confined animal feeding operations," or CAFOs, argued that environmental violations at Lost Valley Farm of Boardman, Ore., underscored the need for increased safeguards.Opponents of several bills that would impose new restrictions on large CAFOs countered that Oregon's entire dairy industry should not be punished for the misdeeds of one bad operator.While the trouble at Lost Valley Farm constituted a "perfect storm" of regulatory difficulties, this extreme example "did reveal some weaknesses in our processes," said Sen. Mike Dembrow, D-Portland, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Under Senate Bill 876, state regulators would have to sign off on the construction of a large “confined animal feeding operation,” or CAFO, such as a dairy with more than 700 mature cows.Before such a CAFO could begin operating, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality would have issue a final approval after ensuring it has secured all necessary permits and sufficient access to water.

Agriculture, State Organizations Try to Help Farmers Affected by Flood, Blizzard

DTN | Posted on March 20, 2019

With ongoing flood recovery efforts in Nebraska, Iowa, and other affected states, there are a number of places farmers and ranchers can go for help or to donate. Livestock losses in Nebraska are estimated at about $400 million and many ranchers face challenges to save remaining herds.The Nebraska Department of Agriculture is ready to help producers affected by the blizzards and flooding who need hay, feedstuffs, fencing materials, volunteer help and equipment.Callers to the department at 1-800-831-0550 should be prepared to share their name, contact information, type and number of livestock, location (including county), the type of assistance needed and how urgent the need is.

Maine senator revives ‘red flag’ bill to allow confiscation of guns from people who pose threat

Press Herald | Posted on March 20, 2019

The measure sponsored by Democrat Rebecca Millett of Cape Elizabeth would allow police and family members to seek a court order to temporarily disarm someone in mental health crisis

Delaware Senate approves raising age to buy tobacco products

Delaware on line | Posted on March 20, 2019

The state Senate has approved a bill raising the legal age to buy tobacco products in Delaware from 18 to 21. A bill was approved on a 14-6 vote Tuesday and now goes to the House.The legislation would apply to all tobacco products and tobacco substitutes, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

Background check on all gun sales in NH means dealers must broker private transactions;

Union Leader | Posted on March 20, 2019

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 bills push 1st state ban on plastics in restaurants

AP News | Posted on March 20, 2019

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 Home-Cooked Cottage-Food Industry Grows, States Work to Keep Up

Pew Trust | Posted on March 20, 2019

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.

Governor Walz Signs Bill to Expand Recovery Loan Program for Farmers

KAAL TV | Posted on March 20, 2019

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.