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SARL Members and Alumni News

Massachusetts orders utilities to lower rates after tax cut

Boston Herald | Posted on February 6, 2018

State regulators are ordering Massachusetts utilities to lower their rates to reflect the reduction in the federal corporate tax rate approved by Congress. The Department of Public Utilities on Friday instructed the utilities to account for any revenues associated with the difference between the previous and current federal corporate tax rates.

Kansas legislation introduced in response to Tyson-Tonganoxie saga

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 6, 2018

Bills introduced last week in the Kansas House and Senate would require countywide public votes on large-scale poultry project proposals like the one Tyson Foods abandoned amid public opposition in Tonganoxie. Rep. Jim Karleskint, R-Tonganoxie, and Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, said the bills would expand to poultry operations existing state law allowing public scrutiny of hog and dairy facilities.

Ohio to eliminate panels on wild animal ownership

Fox News | Posted on February 6, 2018

Ohio is eliminating two state panels created to help regulate ownership of dangerous wild animals after a suicidal man released lions, tigers and other creatures at his farm in 2011. The Dangerous and Restricted Animals Advisory Board and the Dangerous Wild Animals State Emergency Response Commission will be discontinued Feb. 20. The panels were implemented as part of the state’s Dangerous Wild Animal Act passed in 2012. The law followed national outcry over a police decision to kill 49 animals that 62-year-old Terry Thompson released from his Zanesville farm before taking his own life.The advisory board reviewed rules and recommended changes for private animal ownership, while the commission oversaw local plans for managing the escape of wild animals.Sen. Troy Balderson, a Republican from Zanesville, served on the advisory board. He said both panels have accomplished their goals.

Bill seeks to ban Delawareans on food stamps from buying junk food

Delaware Public Media | Posted on February 5, 2018

Bill sponsor State Rep. Kevin Hensley said he wants food stamp benefits to be used only on healthy food. Under the proposal, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services would create a list of what food would be allowed. Hensley said SNAP recipients could still use their own money to purchase food not covered by the food stamp program.

West Virginia bill would limit opioid prescribing, could penalize doctors

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on February 1, 2018

State lawmakers got their first glimpse at Gov. Jim Justice’s legislation to combat the opioid epidemic in West Virginia Tuesday, giving the bill high marks but cautioning that it could penalize honest doctors. The bill, which aims to reduce the number of pain pills prescribed, would allow medical licensing boards to more quickly suspend doctors if their prescriptions appear “abnormal or unusual.” The state Board of Pharmacy would flag the suspect prescriptions.

Washington state legislators introduce bill to provide help to suicidal farmers

The New Food Economy | Posted on February 1, 2018

House Bill (H.B.) 2671, which he introduced last week. Its aim? To improve “the behavioral health of people in the agricultural industry.”If Wilcox’s bill is passed, which seems a good possibility given its strong bipartisan support, it will establish a task force to study the factors that lead to high rates of suicide and substance abuse, and then establish free resources aimed at increasing mental health support services and suicide prevention outreach.But who exactly will these services be for?As the bill is written now, the task force will convene representatives from the healthcare industry and various agricultural associations. But what about a representative for migrant workers or other vulnerable populations?There’s no specific language in the bill pertaining to those populations. But it does promise a free resource that must meet the following requirements: be publicly available online or via phone call; provide community-based training resources in suicide risk recognition and referral skills; and contain marketing guidelines to promote behavioral health in the agricultural industry.

Missouri Senate bill preempts regulation of working animals

Missouri Senate | Posted on February 1, 2018

SB 918 - Under this act, the General Assembly preempts the control and regulation of working animals to the exclusion of any order, ordinance, policy, or regulation by any political subdivision. For purposes of this act, "working animal" means the use of any animal for the purpose of performing a specific duty or function in business, commerce, or service, including but not limited to, animals in entertainment.

Farmers, local and statewide, criticize “farm-killing” state Senate pesticide bill

KGMI | Posted on February 1, 2018

 A bill in the state Senate that would impose more restrictions on farmers’ application of pesticides drew harsh criticism from major commodity commissions and small organic farmers alike, including farmers in Whatcom County. The bill would require, among other things, that farmers tell the Department of Health four business days in advance of plans to use pesticides.Capital Press reports local berry farmer Rob Dhaliwal argued Thursday a delay like that in addressing a bug or disease outbreak would devastate crops since many of these outbreaks can get out of hand in much less time.The Department of Agriculture and Labor and Industries already regulate the use of pesticides.

Colorado COOL measure rejected

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

Colorado legislators this week rejected a bill proposing the “Product of the USA” label be reserved in the state’s grocery stores only for beef derived exclusively from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the United States. The Colorado General Assembly’s House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources heard testimony from cattle ranchers and consumers stating that multinational meatpackers and retailers were deceptively applying “Product of the USA” labels on foreign beef sold in Colorado grocery stores, according to a news release by R-CALF.

How do communities succeed at attracting young adults

University of Wisconsin | Posted on February 1, 2018

Stoecker and colleagues concluded that communities must be seen in the context of their regional centers; in particular, proximity to a city or an interstate highway was critical. “We found that people are looking for a nearby employment center that includes high-end, professional employment. They look for amenities in these regional centers: entertainment, movies, art, theater, high-end restaurants, and spectator sports.” Another factor is shopping, not just big box stores, but a range that allows a resident to get everything they need at the city. For these reasons, Stoecker says, “it’s not surprising that these communities are all close to a city, or an interstate, or both.”