2015 Legislative Session Update – soregonag@gmail.com – Gmail

2015 Legislative Session Update This January, the 78th Oregon Legislative Assembly convened for three days to be sworn in, appoint committees and introduce presession filed bills. During this time, over 1400 bills were dropped. The legislators will return on February 2nd for a maximum of 160 days. Committees will get right to work and are expected to move bills the first week.This session Farm Bureau supports legislation on: Water Supply DevelopmentIn the Governor’s budget, there is a $50 million dollar bonding package for water development projects, such as above ground storage, aquifer recharge, efficiency, and conservation. OFB supports this package, which recognizes the necessity of water planning for the future. Protecting farmlandOne of OFB’s goals is to maintain Oregon’s agricultural land base by ensuring that land conversions do not impact existing agricultural infrastructure. Concerns include conversions of farmland into bike paths and other recreation easements, wetlands, and utility corridors. Supporting OSU StatewidesOFB is supporting a budget proposal to provide an additional $16 million to Oregon State University’s Statewides-Forest Research Lab, Ag Experiment Station, and Extension Service. This program provides critical research and development to the public and agricultural sector, including pollinator health, water quality, food safety and security, and business development in rural Oregon. Farm Bureau opposes legislation on: PesticidesOFB will oppose legislation to mandate buffers for aerial pesticide application and require 24-hour notification before spraying. Also, legislation has been introduced to ban the use of all neonicotinoids. LaborOFB opposes legislation that increases labor/workforce costs for Oregon’s farmers and ranchers. Legislation has been introduced to increase the state minimum wage to between $12 and $15, require employers to provide paid sick days, and create a mandatory state private retirement program. These proposals burden employers and fail recognize the unique needs of the agricultural sector. Carbon controlOFB opposes legislation that would impose carbon taxes and implement DEQ’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The LCFS is a hidden gas tax that would increase transportation costs and put Oregon farmers at a competitive disadvantage compared to our neighbors. Taxes OFB members should be mindful of tax issues during the 2015 session; property tax and income tax reform are both up for discussion. OFB opposes legislation that would sunset personal property tax exemptions on farm equipment, inventory, and improvements and is following legislation that would review farm and forestland deferrals. Genetic engineeringOFB opposes bills that would create control or exclusion areas around GMO crops and allow the state to determine what farmers can and cannot grow. What you can doOFB’s government affairs team represents Farm Bureau in Salem; however, nothing has more of an impact than actual producers explaining to lawmakers how legislation could impact their operations and ability to farm and ranch.Keep a look out for OFB’s Action Alerts and sign up for the OFB Legislative Bulletin. To register, send your name and email address to annemarie@oregonfb.org. Also, get involved in issues through your county Farm Bureau. Attend the next monthly meeting and speak your mind on issues impacting your farm or ranch. For county contact information, visit oregonfb.org (under “About”) or call OFB at 503-399-1701.

via 2015 Legislative Session Update – soregonag@gmail.com – Gmail.

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