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June 20, 2011
Legislative Digest #23
STATUS OF BILLS:
LD 228 LD 228An Act To Revise Notification Requirements for Pesticide Applications (Edgecomb-Caribou, Sherman-Aroostook, Clark-Easton, Gifford-Lincoln). Repeals the laws governing the pesticide notification registry and maintains the current rule that requires notification to anyone who asks within 500' of an outdoor application and 1,000' of an aerial application. Farm Bureau sponsored. It has been signed into law (Chapter 332).
LD 507 LD 507An Act To More Closely Coordinate the Classification of Forested Farmland under the Farm and Open Space Tax Law with the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law (Curtis-Madison, Whittemore-Somerset, Cushing-Hampden, Fitts-Pittsfield). Provides that transfers of forestland under the Tree Growth Tax Law to the Farm and Open Space Tax Law will still qualify for municipal tree growth reimbursements even after the transfer, and the landowner must continue with the forest management plan. Farm Bureau opposed the requirement that a forest management plan must continue when forestland has been transferred from Tree Growth to Farm and Open Space. The bill was amended in the Taxation Committee to remove the requirement of a forest management plan for forestland in Farm and Open Space. It has been enacted and awaits the signature of the Governor to become law.
LD 910 LD 910An Act To Allow Hunting on Sunday for Landowners (Fitts-Pittsfield). Allows private
landowners to hunt on Sunday if they own 20 or more acres and the land is open to hunting by the public. Farm Bureau opposes. It was reported out of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee
11-2 "ought not to pass." It was defeated in both the House and Senate.
LD 979 LD 979An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Create an Animal and Plant Diagnostic Facility at the University of Maine (Edgecomb-Caribou, Sherman-Aroostook, Black-Wilton, Cray-Palmyra, Foster-Augusta, Gifford-Lincoln, Kent-Woolwich, McCabe-Skowhegan, O'Brien-Lincolnville, Schneider-Penobscot). Proposes a $7.2 million bond issue to build an animal and plant diagnostic at the University of Maine. Farm Bureau favors. This and all other bond bills will be held over until the next legislative session.
LD 104LD 1043 An Act Making Unified Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government, General Fund and Other Funds, and Changing Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2012 and June 30, 2013 (Flood-Winthrop, Rosen-Hancock, Rotundo-Lewiston, Hill-York) (Governor's Bill). Among other things, appropriates $200,000 for IPM research conducted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, $10.8 million for the dairy stabilization program and raises the exemption for the Maine estate tax from $1 million to $2 million. Farm Bureaus favors. It has been enacted and awaits the signature of the Governor to become law.
LD 114LD 1142 An Act To Amend the Farm and Open Space Tax Law (Knight-Livermore Falls, Mason-Androscoggin, Berry-Bowdoinham, Flemings-Bar Harbor, Fossel-Alna, Harmon-Palermo, Picchiotti-Fairfield, Wintle-Garland, Langley-Hancock, Trahan-Lincoln). Allows a farm-related structure on land enrolled in the farm and open space tax program to be taxed at current use value. Farm Bureau sponsored. It was amended by the Taxation Committee under a new title, "Resolve, Directing the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Revenue Services to Review the Farm and Open Space Law." The resolve directs the Maine Revenue Services with guidance from the Department of Agriculture, Maine Municipal Association and Maine Farm Bureau to evaluate land used for agricultural activities enrolled in the Farm and Open Space Tax Law and to consider land within the footprint of agricultural-related buildings. It also calls for study of the thresholds for acreage and income that allows farmland to be assessed at current use. It has been signed into law (Resolve 86).
LD 144LD 1444 Resolve, To Enhance Agriculture and Farming (Crockett-Bethel). Requires the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt rules to streamline the permitting process for clear-cutting land to be used for agricultural purposes that was previously used for agricultural purposes. Farm Bureau favors. It was amended by the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee to review statutes and rules that restrict the uses of certain lands for agricultural purposes and to make a report of its findings to the committee at the next legislative session. It has the initial approval of both the House and Senate and now sits on the Appropriations Table for funding.
LD 144LD 1446 Resolve, To Develop and Implement a Farm and Fish to School Program (McCabe-Skowhegan and 63 co-sponsors). Directs the Departments of Agriculture, Education and Marine Resources to assist nonprofit organizations in the development and implementation of a pilot program to examine the benefits of promoting the purchasing Maine food and fish for use in school meal programs. Farm Bureau favors. It has been enacted and awaits the signature of the Governor to become law.
LD 147LD 1473 An Act To Clarify Rights-of-way Laws (Weaver-York, Sherman-Aroostook, Beaulieu-Auburn, Cotta-China, Sarty-Denmark). Allows a person who owns land in a subdivision that abuts a proposed, unaccepted way to own the entire width of the way if the land on the opposite of the way is not part of the subdivision and allows the person to own an extension of the portion of the way beyond the boundary of the person's land that is not bounded by another owner's land on the person's side of the way. Current law allows a person who owns land that abuts a proposed, unaccepted way ownership to the center line of that property. Farm Bureau opposes. It has been signed into law (Chapter 312).
LD 147LD 1447 An Act To Protect Owners of Real Property (Cushing-Hampden, Plowman-Penobscot, Gifford-Lincoln, Nutting-Oakland, Waterhouse-Bridgton, Winsor-Norway, Rosen-Hancock, Sherman-Aroostook, Thibodeau-Waldo). Proposes a course of action for property owners when there has been an environmental taking on their land. Farm Bureau favors. It was amended by the Judiciary Committee under a new title, "Resolve, To Review Issues Dealing with Regulatory Takings." This resolve will establish a 13-member study committee charged to study issues associated with property rights and the public welfare and report back its findings to the Judiciary Committee by December 7, 2011. It has the initial approval of both the House and Senate and now sits on the Appropriations Table for funding.