How the October Legislative meetings impact us

Government Affairs Update for Oregon Cattlemen’s Association
By Jim Welsh

Legislative Committee Meetings

Legislative leadership scheduled 3 days of committee meetings at the end of September and beginning of October.  The committee membership was very much the same as during the Legislative Session except for a few changes.  For the most part the meeting agendas were composed of informational hearings with the inclusion of possible legislative concepts for the scheduled February 2010 Legislative Session.  The consecutive 3 day scheduling of committees seemed to work well especially for the committee members and those needing to attend the meetings.  This approach reduces travel time and costs for everyone involved.

Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Communities Committee

The committee, chaired by Rep. Brian Clem, heard an overview of economic development in the agriculture industry by Katy Coba, Director of Oregon Department of Agriculture, an update on Brand Oregon, and an overview of Washington’s Office of Farmland Preservation an the Future of Farming Project.  There was also an update on OSU’s Extension Service, a briefing on the fruit fly, Drosophila Suzukii and an update on State Forest Management Plans, Forest Fire Fighting Efforts and Sudden Oak Death in Oregon. The committee is intending on introducing HB 3298A from the 2009 Session which didn’t receive final approval before the session ended.  The bill provides that once counties and metro service districts have designated land as urban reserve, they may not designate additional land as urban reserve until at least 50% of the previously designated urban reserve has been included within the urban growth boundary of the district.  The other legislation proposed for the February Session is HB 2761 which allows a landowner to request an independent soil capability assessment.

Environment and Water Committee

This committee, once again chaired by Rep. Ben Cannon, heard information on the Oregon Water Resources, Integrated Water Resources Strategy, the Deschutes Mitigation and Conservation Program, Stimulus Projects for Water and Energy, Agency Coordination and Consolidation Issues, Energy Efficiency in State Buildings, Renewable Portfolio Standard, and the Toxics Policy.  The committee will be introducing HB 2859 for consideration during the February Session.  The bill reduces the amount of ground water use for domestic purposes exempt from water right requirement and only applies to ground water use that commences on or after effective date of Act.  The domestic use would be reduced from the present allowance of 15,000 gal./day to 1000 gal./day.  Supposedly, the legislation will not affect developing livestock wells.

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