The Maryland Department of Agriculture follows many bills that may impact the agency and the customers it serves. Almost every day, a synopsis and a profile of bills MDA is tracking and a hearing schedule is updated from the Legislative Services' website.
The agency has presented two bills for consideration by the 2013 General Assembly. They are:
SB 53 – Department of Agriculture – Administrative Review of Contested Cases
The Board of Review was established more than 40 years ago as a result of recommendations from the January, 1969 Report of the Governor’s Executive Reorganization Committee’s Comprehensive Plan for Maryland. The statutory function of the MDA Board of Review is to allow citizens to appeal any contested case by the Secretary of Agriculture before the case goes to the Court of Appeals. However, it is a very costly process for a citizen, and can cost upwards of $10,000 to the person who appeals. MDA believes here are currently statutory controls in place to accomplish similar functions that make this Board irrelevant. The Board has not met since 2004 because no cases have been filed. This proposal had originally been included in the list of items to the Governor’s office during the regulatory review process that should be repealed.
SB 180 - Department of Agriculture – State Chemist Fund
The proposed legislation would merge four existing, overlapping funds that perform similar functions within the State Chemist division – Pesticide Regulation, Commercial Feed, Commercial Fertilizer and Agricultural Liming Materials and Gypsum. The new fund would be entitled the “State Chemist Fund.” The State Chemist Section regulations the sale and distribution of pesticides, animal feeds, pet foods, fertilizers, compost, soil conditioners and agricultural liming materials. It also works closely with federal agencies performing inspections and chemical analysis, monitoring pesticide levels in food and evaluating the potential spread of pathogens in produce samples. The four individual funds were established at separate times but all support the office of the state chemist. All of the state chemist personnel perform multiple, overlapping tasks and the equipment/resources purchased through the funds are cross-utilized. MDA needs the flexibility of one fund.
MDA Written Testimony
MC/PG 108-13: Agriculture - Nutrient Management - Exemption (Prince George's County Bi-County Committee)
MDA Position: Oppose
SB 53: Department of Agriculture - Administrative Review of Contested Cases (Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs)
MDA Position: Support
SB520: Agriculture - Commercial Feed and Drinking Water – Antimicrobial Drug Prohibition (Education, Health and Environmental Affairs) MDA Position: Oppose
SB521: Agriculture - Meat and Poultry - Antibiotic Use - Labeling (Education, Health and Environmental Affairs) MDA Position: Oppose
HB 775: Maryland Pesticide Reporting and Information Act (Environmental Affairs) MDA Position: Letter of Concern
HB 1019: Task Force to Study the Implementation of a Hub and Spoke Program in the Southern Maryland Region (Environmental Matters) MDA Position: Support
SB 796 – Agriculture – Easements – Renewable Energy Generation Facilities. (Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee). Position: Letter of Information
SB 675 - Maryland Pesticide Reporting and Information Act (Education, Health and Environmental Affairs) Position: Letter of Concern
SB 748 - Agriculture – Nutrient Management – Waters of the State. (Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee). Position: Support
SB 820 - Animal Welfare - Spay/Neuter Fund (Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee). Position: Support with Amendments
SB 1029 - Agriculture - Maryland Agricultural Certainty Program (Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee). Position: Support with Amendments.
SB 1029 - Agriculture - Maryland Agricultural Certainty Program (House Environmental Matters Comittee). Position: Support
Attachments: Frequently Asked Questions