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SARL Members and Alumni News

Iowa tax reform bill puts solar tax credit on the chopping block

Energy News | Posted on March 8, 2018

A tax credit that’s helped motivate many fiscally conscious Iowa farmers to install solar panels would see an early demise under a sweeping tax reform bill that cleared a major legislative hurdle. Iowa is the only state in the Midwest and one of just a dozen nationally that still offers a state solar tax credit. The Iowa Legislature created the 15 percent tax credit in 2012. Since then it’s provided a total of $21.6 million in incentives for nearly 4,000 projects.


Washington state passes net neutrality law as states push back against the FCC

NBC News | Posted on March 8, 2018

Washington became the first state to pass a law making it illegal for internet service providers to manipulate their networks for money. Dozens of other states are considering similar measures through legislation and lawsuits. Governors in Montana, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey and Vermont have all signed executive orders on the issue.  There's just one problem: The new rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission in December, in a 3-2 vote along party lines, pre-empt states from making their own net neutrality laws. The FCC's new rules will officially go into effect on April 23, according to a notice published last month in the Federal Register. Washington's law, which had bipartisan support, doesn't take effect until June 6. Experts expect it could face legal challenges. "This is symbolic politics, because the states know it is illegal to do," Roslyn Layton, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told NBC News. "But they can put rules on the book and make it look like they're doing something."

 


Commissioner Sid Miller prevails in three-way GOP race

The Texas Tribune | Posted on March 8, 2018

Sid Miller maintained about 56 percent of the vote in a three-way race to lead a department whose wide-ranging responsibilities include inspecting lottery balls and running the federal school lunch program.


Resolution introduced into the Illinois House admonishes the Humane Society

Illinois General Assembly | Posted on March 7, 2018

According to the tax documents of the Humane Society of the United States, as well as other independent analyses, the national organization renowned for animal rights donated less than one percent of their $132 million budget to help care for actual animals in 2016; and members of this chamber should be encouraging the residents of Illinois to research other local humane societies that are completely unaffiliated with the National organization; residents of Illinois will find that these independent humane societies do not receive many donations and rely primarily on dedicated volunteers to care for the animals;


Idaho, 10 other states back Washington in culvert appeal

Capital Press | Posted on March 7, 2018

States across the country argue that if Washington loses Supreme Court case, land uses from coast-to-coast will be vulnerable to lawsuits.  Eleven states from around the U.S. argue that if Washington loses its case in the U.S. Supreme Court over culverts, land-use rules across the country will be at risk of being subordinate to tribal treaty rights. The states, led by Idaho, filed a brief with the high court March 2 supporting Washington’s appeal of a court order to replace more than 800 fish-blocking culverts. The order provides a script for challenging anything that could harm tribal fishing and hunting in their states, according to Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and colleagues.


Veterinarians want freedom to recommend like medical doctors

The Sacramento Bee | Posted on March 6, 2018

Unlike medical doctors in California, veterinarians are prohibited under state law from discussing cannabis as a treatment option for pets. That would change under a bill recently proposed by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, D-San Jose. AB 2215 would have the state Veterinary Medical Board come up with guidelines for discussing marijuana treatment and “protect state-licensed veterinarians from disciplinary action for discussing the use of cannabis on animal patient clients.” The bill is sponsored by the California Veterinary Medical Association.


Rural prosperity center jumps hurdle

Valdosta Daily Times | Posted on March 6, 2018

A plan to create an academic center focusing on the needs of rural Georgia cleared a milestone, but conversations about funding still await lawmakers. House lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the measure, sending it to the Senate. The proposal comes from the House Rural Development Council, which has offered several bills aimed at addressing the woes of rural Georgia.  Shaw’s measure creates the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation, which would be housed within a university that offers a bachelor’s in rural community development – a requirement that appears to favor Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton. 


Oregon sues to shut down new mega-dairy, citing repeated manure spills

edairynews | Posted on March 6, 2018

Lost Valley Farm opened in April 2017 near Boardman along the Columbia River in north central Oregon to supply the Tillamook County Creamery Association, which makes Tillamook Cheese. Its wastewater permit allows up to 30,000 animals and 187 million gallons of manure per year.Regulators approved the dairy despite objections from about 4,000 people and a dozen state and national health and environment organizations raising concerns about air and water pollution, water use and health impacts on nearby communities.Since then the dairy has failed numerous inspections, has been cited four times and has been fined $10,640.Each citation included steps the dairy was required to take to remain in operation. Each time, the dairy failed to comply with most of those requirements, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said in the lawsuit filed last week. As a result, liquid manure and wastewater has repeatedly overflowed storage lagoons and seeped into soil. The lawsuit seeks an immediate and permanent injunction prohibiting the dairy from creating any more wastewater.


Legal challenge to Iowa ag gag law moves forward

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

A U.S. District Court judge has denied Iowa’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s “ag gag” law. In October, a coalition of groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Center for Food Safety, and Public Justice filed the lawsuit, claiming the law violates Iowans’ First Amendment right to free speech. The suit was filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.


Senator, don’t tax irrigation water in Nebraska

Scottsbluff Star Herald | Posted on March 1, 2018

Any legislation that would increase the tax burden for Nebraska farmers deserves a quick and unceremonious defeat in the Unicameral. We’re speaking specifically about LB1022, a proposal to tax irrigation water. The idea makes little sense because farmers and ranchers already are paying more than their fair share in property taxes and are struggling to turn a profit, so why has Columbus state Sen. Paul Schumacher proposed taxing irrigation wells? Schumacher is regarded as one of the most intelligent state senators, but he’s casting doubt on his intellectual capacities with LB1022.The bill would create a one-cent tax on every 10 gallons of water pumped from an irrigation well capable of producing at least 5,000 gallons of water per day.The daily total for a 5,000-gallon well would be $5. That sum doesn’t sound like a lot, but multiply it times five wells, and a 50-day irrigation season would result in added taxes of $1,250.Schumacher thinks his irrigation tax could provide needed revenue for schools, which shows his heart is in the right place, it’s just not pumping blood to his brain. Added taxes could further cripple farmers and ranchers, undermining our state’s No.1 industry that contributes $11 billion annually to the Nebraska economy and is responsible for more than 31,000 jobs.


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