Bills in the Legislature affect producers
Published on Fe. 15, 2020
On Feb. 10, the Wyoming legislature kicked off their 2020 budget session, which is slated to last 24 days and end on March 12. There have been over 200 bills pre-filed, many of which have particular interest to agriculture producers. Unless otherwise noted, these bills will be effective July 1, 2020 if passed.
The first of eight bills sponsored by the Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee is HB0036, which involves pesticide registration fees.
According to Wyoming Legislature records, the bill would increase the pesticide registration fees, specify the distribution of the fee and verify applicability.
The bill states, every registrant of a pesticide or device shall pay an annual registration fee of $120 for each product registered. All registrations shall expire on Dec. 31 of each year, following the date of the registration, and may thereupon be renewed for successive periods of 12 months upon payment of the proper fee.
HB0037 centers around the voluntary land exchange process, authorizing the development of an expedited process for the exchange of state lands for the purpose of public access to state lands and providing for an effective date.
According to Wyoming Legislature records, the bill states, “The board of land commissioners is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to enable the expedited exchange of state lands, initiated by the lessee of the state lands, for private lands on a value for value basis.”
The bill continues, “The expedited process under this subsection shall be used if the board determines that, in addition to meeting the requirements of this section, the exchange of lands would facilitate legal access to state or federal lands including, without limitation, exchanging an isolated parcel for a parcel contiguous with other state lands.”
HB0038 would amend provisions related to inspections and remediations of weed and pest infestations and provide for an effective date.
The amendments state, “Whenever the district board has probable cause to believe that a landowner’s property is infested by weeds or pests which are liable to spread and contribute to the injury or detriment of others, and the board has provided written notice of probable cause to the landowner, it shall make or have made an inspection of the suspected premises through the use of lawful entry procedures.”
The bill continues, “No entry upon any premises, lands or places shall be permitted under this subsection until the landowner or occupant has been notified by certified mail that the inspection is pending at least 15 days prior to the inspection.”
“If, after receiving notice that an inspection is pending, the landowner or occupant denies access to the inspector of the district board, the inspector may seek an inspection warrant issued by a municipal, circuit or district court having jurisdiction over the land,” the bill says.
Any person accused under this act is entitled to a trial by jury. The accumulated fines under this section are a lien against the property of the landowner from the day notice is delivered to the landowner by the district board.
Also sponsored by the Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee, HB0080 would require the board of land commissioners to provide a process by regulation for a hearing related to the appraisal of lands to be exchanged and provide for an effective date.
Section one of the act reads, “The board of land commissioners is hereby authorized and empowered to pass and promulgate all such orders, rules and regulations as may be necessary or required relative to the appraisal and valuation of the lands to be exchanged as provided in this act, and to provide for the execution of conveyances, contracts and other instruments pertaining to the exchange of the lands, and to enable the director to effect and complete each exchange of the lands.”
“The board may authorize the purchase of lands only in an amount necessary to effect and complete the exchange of state‑owned lands for other lands and only for those lands identified in the authorization of purchase,” the bill says. “The board shall not use the power of eminent domain pursuant to purchase any lands under this section.”
The first of four senate filings sponsored by the Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee, SF0031 would require reporting from the University of Wyoming.
The filing reads, “On or before Oct. 1 of each year, the University of Wyoming shall provide a report on the land grant mission of the university to the joint agriculture, public lands and water resources interim committee. The report under this section shall include all revenues to and expenditures by or for the operation of the college of agriculture during the preceding fiscal year.”
The report would require information on the faculty staffing levels at the college of agriculture including any recent or expected changes in those staffing levels, the accomplishments of the college and the benefits of the college to Wyoming’s agricultural economy.
SF0033 would require consent of the county or district for hiring or firing an agricultural agent as specified.
The filing reads, “Any county or district complying with this section upon request shall receive a county agent or agricultural expert to be provided by the agricultural college of the university.”
“The university, with the consent of the county or district as provided in this subsection, shall provide a suitable agent or expert, qualified to do the work usually expected from a person educated in the science of agriculture,” the bill says. “The university shall not hire or fire any person as a county agent or expert under this subsection without first obtaining the consent of the board of county commissioners of the applicable county or the consent of a majority of the boards of county commissioners forming a district.”
In relation to animal damage management funding, SF0041 would increase the request for funding for animal damage management from the game and fish commission, requiring the game and fish commission to recommend expenditures, clarify who can request funding, establishing a fee for animal damage management funding and repeal provisions related to the wildlife damage management stamp.
The bill states, “If the board of directors determines state funds are necessary for an effective predator management program to assure the statutory requirements are fulfilled and state funds are appropriated and received for that purpose, then three directors representing sportsmen and hunters from the district shall be appointed to the board of directors by the county commissioners serving the local district.”
“Priority shall be given to projects that directly involve predator control and projects conducted on lands where hunting is permitted during authorized hunting seasons,” the bill states.
SF0081 looks to amend previous legislation surrounding the rerecording of brands, authorizing the extension of the rerecording period for up to 50 years and repealing the provision for permanently recorded brands. This act would effectively appeal W.S. 11-20-126 and would be effective immediately.
Every owner of a brand shall rerecord the brand according to the applicable time periods established by the board, and failure to do so is an abandonment of the brand as provided in this section.
At least 60 days preceding the expiration date of the brand, the board shall notify by mail and electronic mail if provided, at the address shown on the brand records, the owner of the brand that the brand must be rerecorded and if the brand has not been rerecorded within 60 days from the expiration date of the brand, the brand will be declared delinquent.
If a delinquent brand is not rerecorded within two years from the expiration date of the brand, the brand will be declared abandoned.
The term of the rerecording period will be in increments of 10 years. The board will offer the option to the owner of the brand the rerecord all brands owned by the same person at a prorated fee.
Other relevant bills
Outside of the Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee, a number of other committees and individual representatives and senators proposed bills that are of interest to agriculture producers.
The Joint Revenue Interim Committee released HB0033, which would increase the minimum revenue of unleased agriculture land from $500 to $3,000 from the marketing of agriculture products. If the land is leased, the lessee must at least $3,000 from the direct sales of agriculture lands. This act would be effective Jan. 1, 2021.
Reps. Hunt and Sommers and Sens. Bebout, Driskill and Moniz proposed HB0099, which would allow for claims for reimbursement for certain brucellosis containment efforts, require rulemaking and conform provisions.
Reps. Flitner, Barlow, Eyre, Greear, Hunt, Kirkbride and Sommers and Sens. Boner, Driskill, Gierau, Kost and Moniz introduced HB0142, providing for the support of meat processing plants for Wyoming product export and limiting use of certain funds in the agriculture marketing subaccount within the economic diversification account to support such processing plants.
Sens. Boner, Driskill and Kost and Reps. Barlow, Kirkbride and Lindholm look to amend trespassing laws through SF0067.
The bill would amend criminal trespass elements, establish the crime of and penalty for criminal trespass within an incorporated city or town, amend the penalty for criminal trespass, provide defenses, make conforming amendments and repeal notice provisions for criminal trespass.
Visit wyoleg.gov for updates.
Callie Hanson is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.