A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.


ANNOUNCEMENT: Join us TOMORROW at 12 noon (ET) for an Agricultural & Food Law Consortium webinar: U.S. Agriculture Trade:  Overview and Update on Current and Emerging Issues. Details available here.


JUDICIAL: Includes taxation and landowner liability issues.

Donald J. THOMA and Polk Properties LLC, Petitioners-Appellants-Petitioners, v. VILLAGE OF SLINGER, Respondent-Respondent, No. 2015AP1970 & 2016AP2528, 2018 WL 2170153 (Wis. May 10, 2018) involved a tax assessment dispute wherein plaintiff wanted his land classified as “agricultural” for tax assessment purposes. Court considered whether plaintiff provided sufficient evidence to warrant an “agricultural” classification. Court observed plaintiff “had the burden to prove to the [Tax] Board that his property was being used for agricultural use as defined in the tax code.” Here, plaintiff stated he used the property only for maintaining ground cover,” and the court concluded that “ground cover does not fall within the statutory definition of agricultural use.” Board decision affirmed.

Ernest V. QUIROZ and Mary Quiroz, husband and wife, Plaintiffs/Appellants, v. ALCOA INC., et al., Defendants/Appellees, No. CV-16-0248-PR, 2018 WL 2170175 (Ariz. May 11, 2018) concerned landowner liability and whether an employer who used asbestos materials in its workplace “had a duty to protect the public from off-site contact with employees who may have been carrying asbestos fibers on their work clothes.” Lower court ruled for employer and plaintiff appealed. In considering the issues in this case, the appellate court noted that “a cotton farmer owed a duty of care to not harm a neighboring farmer’s cantaloupe fields when crop dusting his cotton fields.” The court also considered the issue of “duty and reasoned that “in every negligence case, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving the existence of a duty.” Here, plaintiff failed to demonstrate employer “realized or should have realized that second-hand exposure to asbestos via an employee’s clothing involved an unreasonable risk of harm.” Affirmed for defendant.


LEGISLATIVE:

S. 79: Securing Energy Infrastructure Act. Text for status Reported by Senate Committee (May 10, 2018) is now available.

S. 1059: Responsible Disposal Reauthorization Act of 2017. Text for status Reported by Senate Committee (May 10, 2018) is now available.

S. 1981: Small Scale LNG Access Act of 2017. Text for status Reported by Senate Committee (May 10, 2018) is now available.

H.Res. 890: Recognizing the National Association of Letter Carriers’ one-day food drive. Text is now available.

H.R. 1037: To authorize the National Emergency Medical Services Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs. Text for status Reported by House Committee (May 11, 2018) is now available.

H.R. 2991: Susquehanna National Heritage Area Act. Text for status Reported by House Committee (May 11, 2018) is now available.

H.R. 5780: To direct the Secretary of Agriculture to end the use of cats in experiments that cause pain or stress. Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

H.R. 5786: Making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019. Referred to the House Committee on Appropriations.

H.R. 5785: To advance Black families in the 21st century. Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, House Committee on Armed Services, and 13 other committees.

H.R. 589: Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act. Text for status Reported by Senate Committee (May 9, 2018) is now available.

S. 2503: Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act. Text for status Reported by Senate Committee (May 9, 2018) is now available.

H.R. 1026: North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act. Text for status Reported by House Committee (May 10, 2018) is now available.

H.R. 3053: Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017. Text for status Passed the House (May 10, 2018) is now available.

S. 2814: A bill to amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act to allow the interstate sale of State-inspected meat and poultry. Referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

S. 2813: A bill to amend the Agricultural Adjustment Act to assist small cheese producers. Referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

S. 2831: A bill to redesignate Golden Spike National Historic Site and to establish the Transcontinental Railroad Network. Referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

S. 2825: A bill to amend the Clean Air Act to modify provisions relating to international border areas, marginal areas, and rural transport areas. Referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

S. 2833: A bill to amend the Agricultural Act of 2014 to improve the calculation of county-level agriculture risk coverage payments. Referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

S. 2822: A bill to amend the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 to expand the availability of programs of the Department of Agriculture to veteran farmers and ranchers. Referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

S. 2824: A bill to amend the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 to establish in each State a network between agricultural producers and food banks to provide food to the needy and reduce food waste. Referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

S. 2827: A bill to amend the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Act. Referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

S. 2834: A bill to amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to improve the wetland conservation program. Referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

H.R. 5751: To redesignate Golden Spike National Historic Site and to establish the Transcontinental Railroad Network. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.R. 5753: To modify the requirements applicable to locatable minerals on public domain lands, consistent with the principles of self-initiation of mining claims. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.Res. 890: Recognizing the National Association of Letter Carriers’ one-day food drive. Resolution was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

H.R. 5764: To amend the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 to require peer review for value-added agricultural product market development grants. Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

H.R. 5763: To implement the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and House Committee on Natural Resources.

S. 35: Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act. Added to the House’s schedule for the coming week.

H.R. 1417: National Law Enforcement Museum Exhibits Act. Added to the House’s schedule for the coming week.

S. 1285: Oregon Tribal Economic Development Act. Added to the House’s schedule for the coming week.

H.R. 2991: Susquehanna National Heritage Area Act. Added to the House’s schedule for the coming week.


REGULATORY: Includes EPA, FWS, and NOAA rules and notices.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCYRule EPA is proposing to approve a state implementation plan revision submitted by the State of Delaware. Details here.

FISH AND WIDLIFE SERVICE:

Rule FWS will reclassify Tobusch fishhook cactus from endangered to threatened on the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Info here.

Notice FWS announce the availability of a final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement that evaluates the effects of issuing a 50- year incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act for 28 species covered under the final South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS is opening directed fishing for species that comprise the deep-water species fishery by vessels using trawl gear in the Gulf of Alaska. Info here.

Rule NMFS issues this final rule for the 2018 Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006. Details here.

Notice NOAA will hold a public meeting to solicit comments on the performance evaluation of the California Coastal Commission, part of the California Coastal Management Program. Info here.

Notice the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and its advisory committees will meet in June, in Kodiak, AK. Details here.

Notice NMFS has received an application from Orsted LLC/Bay State Wind LLC for an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to high-resolution geophysical (HRG) survey investigations associated with marine site characterization activities off the coast of Massachusetts in the area of the Commercial Lease of Submerged Lands for Renewable Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf. Info here.