AmericanFarm.com

MDA identifies list of bills that would impact ag

By JONATHAN CRIBBS
Associate Editor

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Jan. 19, 2016) — The General Assembly opened its 2016 session last week, and the state department of agriculture has released a list of bills it’s keeping an eye on that could impact the agency and farmers.
Here’s a brief list of some of those.
A full list can be found on the department’s website at mda.maryland.gov.
• A bill sponsored by Del. Tony McConkey, R-Anne Arundel, that would require the state police to maintain a set of digital fingerprints for each applicant for a permit to carry, wear or transport a handgun;
• A bill called the Community Cleanup and Greening Act of 2016 sponsored by Del. Brooke E. Lierman, D-Baltimore City, that would prohibit a store from distributing plastic disposable bags free of charge to a customer at the point of sale; requiring the store to charge and collect a 10-cent fee for each paper disposable carryout bag the store provides or a 5-cent credit for each bag the customer provides;
• A bill, SB0100, that would repeal the requirement that an individual, except under specified circumstances, be licensed by the state labor commission and industry before performing a farm labor contracting service in the state for consideration; repealing a specified provision of law authorizing the commissioner to require a farm labor contractor to post a surety bond or other security;
• A bill, SB0113, repealing the requirement that a bee colony or used bee equipment shipped or transported into the state be accompanied by an entry permit issued by the agriculture department; requiring a specified person to submit specified information to the department before shipping or transporting a colony or used equipment into the state;
• A bill called the Sugar-Free Schools Act sponsored by Sen. Ronald N. Young, D-Frederick, that would require specified county board to develop a plan on or before Aug. 1, 2017 to reduce students’ total sugar intake per school meal based on specified recommendations;
• A bill sponsored by Sen. Bryan W. Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, that would prohibit a person from committing specified acts against an animal when the person knows or reasonably should know that a minor of at least 2 years old is present; establishing that a minor is present if the minor is within sight or hearing of the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals;
• A bill, HB0061, mandating that a person may operate an anaerobic digestion facility only in accordance with specified requirements, regulations, orders and permits; requires the department of the environment to adopt regulations relating to the design, construction and operational conditions of recycling facilities, a tiered system of permits or approval for recycling facilities and exceptions to any requirement to obtain a facility permit;
• A bill called the Clean Waterways Tax Credit Act sponsored by Simonaire that allows an individual a credit against the state income tax for the purchase price of equipment used to install or maintain a floating garden.