The Washington State Department of Agriculture made the first formal move Wednesday to electronically follow every cow in the state from birth to slaughter. The department indicated it will propose replacing metal ID tags with radio-frequency identification, or RFID, on tens of thousands of cows. According to WSDA, electronic tags will be less prone to record-keeping errors and help track cattle as individuals, not just part of a branded herd.“Updating our rules to incorporate RFID devices is an important first step in strengthening our state’s animal disease traceability system,” State Veterinarian Brian Joseph said in a written statement.
California’s legal marijuana market is finally, fitfully, taking shape. The state on Thursday issued the first batch of business licenses to sell and transport recreational-use pot, just 18 days before legal sales will begin on Jan. 1.The 20 temporary licenses — some of which were for the previously existing medical marijuana industry — represent a fraction of the thousands of licenses expected to follow as the state embraces legal weed in 2018, but their release set off jubilation.In general, California will treat cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce and grow six marijuana plants at home.
There's a new law in New York that looks to help reunite lost pets with their owners. A New York law that went into effect this week requires that all animal shelters, rescue groups and other organizations that take in found pets check to see if the animal has a microchip in them. They then must try to contact the owner within 24 hours."We've been in compliance with this legislation for many years and microchipping is one of the most reliable ways to ensure that you reunite a pet with their owner in the shortest amount of time," Executive Director of the Chemung County SPCA Tom Geroy said.According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 52 percent of lost dogs who have been implanted with a microchip are reunited with their owners, and 39 percent of microchipped cats are returned home. But Geroy said the information associated with the device is just as important as the chip itself.
A group of woodland owners who believe they have been overcharged for their property taxes can appeal the values to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals. The Ohio Supreme Court released a decision Dec. 7 that said landowners can challenge their Current Agricultural Use Value before the appeals board, because the values are considered a “final determination” and are part of Ohio’s law that allows for appeals.A group of landowners from 20 Ohio counties had previously appealed their CAUV values to the Board of Tax Appeals, arguing their taxes were too high because the state used too low of a cost for clearing woodlands, and that the board’s rules were unreasonable.
A powerful group of state lawmakers approved sweeping proposals Wednesday designed to encourage people and businesses to move to rural Georgia.The group voted unanimously to support income tax breaks worth up to $6,000 a year, high-speed internet lines in unconnected areas and better health care access.
A legislative panel focused on the challenges facing rural Georgia has proposed a slate of changes meant to spark job growth and reverse population declines in the state’s beleaguered counties.A report, approved Wednesday by the House Rural Development Council, takes on such mammoth issues as rural health care and spotty broadband Internet service. That document provides a framework for the initiatives that will be debated in the coming legislative session, which starts next month.Specific ideas include proposals such as creating a tax break for people who move to counties with a steady stream of residents leaving. It’s an incentive especially meant to attract high-wage professionals to rural communities.Or easing requirements in the state’s certificate of need program, which controls how many health care facilities can crop up in one area. That proposal is designed to give rural hospitals more flexibility to operate as small-scale “micro hospitals.”
Illinois' taxing model for wind energy companies is touted as one of the best in the country, bringing in $30.4 million in property taxes in 2016, according to economic experts. Barton DeLacy, a tax expert from Chicago, said that the Illinois system is a good model that is very close to the value he gives to wind farms and is much more consistent than in other states.
Massachusetts is being sued by 13 other states that claim a voter-approved law to ban the sale of eggs and other food products from farm animals that are confined in overly restrictive cages is unconstitutional.
California and Washington state joined five nations on the Pacific coast of the Americas on Tuesday to agree to step up the use of a price on carbon dioxide emissions as a central economic policy to slow climate change.The U.S. states were acting in defiance of President Donald Trump who says he doubts that man-made greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are the prime cause of global warming and plans to quit the 2015 Paris climate accord.
The number of local ordinances across the country banning the sale of pets from commercial breeders, defined as large operations that raise pets for wholesale distribution, has grown from about a hundred last year to about 250. “The momentum is there,” said Goodwin, senior director of the Humane Society’s Stop Puppy Mills campaign. California this fall became the first state to outright ban sales of commercially raised animals in retail shops — a new success for activists working across the country to transform the way pets are taken in by families.Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates large-scale commercial breeders, animal welfare activists say that as shelter adoptions continue to rise, consumers are becoming more aware of the unsafe, unsanitary conditions in which commercially bred pets are sometimes raised.Activists nationwide hope California becomes a model of how to turn local ordinances into a statewide law. The idea is to approach smaller jurisdictions first, planting the seeds for statewide action, said Elizabeth Oreck, national manager of puppy mill initiatives at Best Friends Animal Society, a nationwide organization.In California, at least 36 municipalities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento, approved banning the stores from selling pets before the California Legislature acted.