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SARL Members and Alumni News

West Virginia Gas Companies Wined and Dined Lawmakers Before Scoring Favorable Fracking Legislation

Desmog | Posted on March 1, 2018

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

Carbon tax calls for refashioning rural Washington

Capital Press | Posted on March 1, 2018

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.

Amid rise in craft brewing, legislators mull changes to laws on self-distribution, barrel caps

CSG Midwest | Posted on March 1, 2018

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.

Recently signed Iowa law will pour more dollars into farm-based water quality projects

CSG Midwest | Posted on March 1, 2018

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.

2018 State of the State addresses: Nine speeches, nine ideas from governors

CSG Midwest | Posted on March 1, 2018

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. 

Checkoff lawsuit prompts Utah to propose reorganizing beef council

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on March 1, 2018

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.

Wisconsin Sets Another Record for Milk Production in 2017

edairynews | Posted on March 1, 2018

America’s Dairyland stayed true to its name in 2017 as the state set another record for total milk production.

Judge orders California agricultural officials to cease pesticide use

The Los Angeles Times | Posted on March 1, 2018

A judge has ordered California agricultural officials to stop spraying pesticides on public and private property to control insects that threaten the state's $45-billion agriculture industry.The injunction by a Sacramento County Superior Court judge, issued late last week, could throw a substantial hurdle in front of efforts by the state Department of Food and Agriculture to control dozens of crop-damaging pests such as the Asian citrus psyllid, which carries bacteria that have decimated the citrus industry in Brazil and Florida.Farmers and other property owners will still be able to use chemical insecticides, and the state can continue to use non-chemical means of pest control. But it will have to suspend spraying pesticides on vegetation in parks, school properties and even homeowners' backyards. The agency also will have to improve its public information process, including offering more opportunities for comment. The environmental groups that sued the California Department of Food and Agriculture documented a long-standing pattern of spraying under emergency provisions that exempted the agency from full disclosure of health risks.

Delaware joins states fighting gun violence

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on February 27, 2018

Delaware is joining a growing number of states that are taking a collective approach to fighting gun violence, Gov. John Carney said. The "States for Gun Safety Coalition" was created earlier this month by the Democratic governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The governors of Delaware, Massachusetts and Puerto Rico all announced Monday that they would be joining the multi-state partnership. Each of the member states is pledging to share their registries of people prohibited from owning firearms in their jurisdictions, allowing police to better track gun purchases and permit denials outside their own state borders.

Iowa egg legislation an example worth following

Watt Ag Net | Posted on February 27, 2018

Iowa House Study Bill 623, proposed by Iowa House Agriculture Chairman Lee Hein, defines conventional eggs as eggs that are not specialty eggs and it further defines specialty eggs as ones that were laid by hens raised in enriched colony housing, cage-free housing or free-range conditions.