March 31, 2017
Inside this issue
This Week at the Statehouse
- •Rural Roads and Bridges
- •Industrial Hemp
- •Food Safety
- •Drone Restrictions Near Military Installations
- •Committee Votes to advance USDA Secretary Nominee Gov. Sonny Perdue.
This Week at the Statehouse
Rural Roads and Bridges
Wednesday, a motion to setH.3516,the road bill to Senate special order status did not receive the necessary two-thirds vote; keeping the bill limbo. Senator Tom Davis (Beaufort) spoke in opposition to the motion as well as the bill itself. He continues to argue for further reform SCDOT and feels the Governor needs to be held truly accountable for the DOT appointments. Failure of the motion does not removeH.3516from the calendar, thus allowing Senators time to work on an agreement.SCFB continues to advocate to fix our crumbling rural roads and bridges.
The House took upH.3559,Industrial Hemp Cultivation, pertaining to the growing of industrial hemp, on Wednesday. Rep. Russell Ott (Calhoun) explained the approved committee amendment and after discussion the amendment was easily adopted. The committee amendment would allow farmers to grow hemp as a research based permit; SCDA would be permitted to issue up to 15 permits and a maximum of 20 acres per permit. A background check would be required to get a permit and there be a $250 annual permit fee. Rep. Mike Pitts (Laurens) explained his new amendment, that if adopted would increase the number of permits allowed in the program from 15 to 50 and change 20 acres to 50 acres. It would allow SCDA the discretion to charge up to $1000 annually per permit. After a tabling motion was defeated, further debate was requested on the amendment moving the bill to the contested calendar. Further debate is expected next week
The House of Representatives adopted the committee amendment and gave second reading Tuesday toH. 4003,Product Safety Act. The bill was given third reading Wednesday and sent to the Senate. This housekeeping bill assigns authority to the Department of Agriculture to enter into agreements with the federal government for the SCDA to inspect and enforce provisions of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act.
SCDA has worked with Farm Bureau, Clemson University, Carolina Farm Stewardship and other stakeholders to protect SC farmers and allow SCDA to be the regulatory authority, not FDA. Nearly 4,000 produce farms are affected by this federal rule, so it is critical that SCDA, FDA be the face of FSMA on our farms. SCDA will educate before and during the regulatory process to ensure farmers are successful in becoming compliant with this rule.
Farm Bureau supports H. 4003.
Drone Restrictions Near Military Installations
A Senate Judiciary subcommittee met Wednesday morning and gave a favorable as amended report toS.109, Aerial Vehiclewhich would impose restrictions on drone flight near military installations. The bill, as originally written would prohibit drones from flying within 1000 feet horizontally or 500 feet vertically without consent of the commander of the installation. An amendment that changed the distance from 500 feet vertically to 400 feet was adopted. The bill now moves to the full Senate Judiciary for further discussion.
Committee Votes to advance USDA Secretary Nominee Gov. Sonny Perdue.
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, advanced the nomination of Governor Sonny Perdue to be the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to the full Senate on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
The Senate is expected to vote on full confirmation in coming weeks.
For Letter of Support Click Here!