Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pro-Ag Bills Signed Into Law

Last week, Governor Hogan, along with President of Senate Mike Miller and Speaker of the House Micheal Busch, signed 350 bills into law. During the 2015 legislative session, the Maryland Farm Bureau advocated for many Pro-Ag bills, 6 of the 350 bills signed into law were bills that MFB supported. These bills ranged from common sense policy to allow ATV access on farms that are separated by a state or county road, and keeping agriculture operations viable to allow seasonal signage for family farms.
A large focus this session was on wildlife management and landowners rights. MFB joined a strong coalition to support the passage of repealing Maryland's strict liability doctrine pertinent to game bird baiting (SB 88). Passage of this bill was verbatim with MFB policy and we would like to thank the Maryland Hunting Coalition, Inc. for helping lead this initiative. To read more about passage of SB 88, click here. 
To view a list of the many bills MFB supported and were signed into law, please see the list below:
    • SB 122 (HB 540) – Expansion of the Farmstead Cheese Program.
    • SB 88 (HB 170) – Changing Maryland law to conform to Federal Law, which states that a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is a baited area in order to be charged with baiting. 
    • SB 844 – Allowing the use of rifles in Southern Frederick County to harvest deer under a deer management permit.  The rifle use is only from October 1 through March 31. 
    • HB 286 - Authorizes the State Highway Administration (SHA) to issue a permit for an outdoor sign along or near a scenic byway in Calvert and St. Mary’s counties if the sign is a directional sign for a facility that sells principally local agriculture or aquaculture products and is within a five-mile radius of the sign.
    • HB 803 - Authorizes a person to plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell, or buy industrial hemp in the State.  The law doesn’t go into effect until federal law allows the production of hemp in the US. 
    • HB 812 - Authorizes a local jurisdiction to permit a person to cross a local highway on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) at a right angle for the purpose of accessing a farm or moving from one part of a farm to another part of the same farm.

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