INDIANAPOLIS -.State Senator Richard Young (D-Milltown) proposed several bills during the recently adjourned legislative session that were approved and signed into law by the governor. Included in his legislative initiatives this session were bills aimed at increasing opportunities for rural farmers and local food production.
House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1312, sponsored by Sen. Young, removes obstacles facing poultry farmers and allows them to sell more home-grown food products, such as frozen poultry, at their farms or at farmers' markets. With only one processing location in the state, it is difficult for small poultry farmers to compete with sales by large poultry producers. Current law presents another obstacle by limiting small farmers to only produce and grow food at their primary residence. Under this act there will be more options for these individuals by allowing them to also produce food at other properties they own or lease, encouraging farmers to produce and distribute locally grown food. The legislation also requires the establishment of an interim study committee to review obstacles to such production and to identify ways to increase connections between Indiana farmers and local consumers. Recommendations by the committee would be considered by next year's General Assembly.
HEA 1091, co-sponsored by Sen. Young, addresses nuisance actions brought against agricultural operations. The legislation states that if a court finds the prosecution or defense of a nuisance action brought against an agricultural operation to be frivolous, the court shall award court costs and reasonable attorney's fees to the prevailing party.
HEA 1128, co-sponsored by Sen. Young, affects corn producers and the state's ethanol industry. The legislation enhances the availability and affordability of this renewable resource by repealing provisions concerning deductions to retail merchants under the E85 reimbursement program. The act also makes changes to requirements for membership of the Corn Marketing Council and establishes a formula to determine the maximum administrative expenses of the council.
HEA 1129, co-sponsored by Sen. Young, provides civil penalty authority to the State Chemist under the agricultural ammonia law, subpoena authority and commercial fertilizer law and provides that the State Chemist may impose a civil penalty only according to a schedule recommended by the Fertilizer Advisory Board. It makes amendments to pesticide laws, pesticide use and commercial feed laws. The new law also directs the State Board of Animal Health to conduct a study of the issue of farmers selling unpasteurized milk to consumers. The committee's review and recommendations may produce legislative initiatives to push forward in the 2013 legislative session.
In addition to these initiatives, Sen. Young also co-sponsored legislation targeting synthetic drugs. HEA 1196 will help to restrain the local distribution of synthetic drugs-including "bath salts"-by banning more types of compounds that can be used as synthetic substitutes. By expanding the definition of synthetic drugs to include certain chemical compounds that are structurally related to already-listed synthetic drugs, this legislation will close loopholes that have allowed drug producers to find ways around the law.
Most new laws will become effective July 1, 2012.
This is only a sample of Sen. Young's legislation set to become law. For a complete list, click here.
For more information on Sen. Young, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business, call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.SenateDemocrats.IN.gov.
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