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2017 SESSION

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Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources

Chairman: Richard H. Stuart

Clerk: Alex Elwood, John Garrett
Staff: David Barry, Scott Meacham
Date of Meeting: January 19, 2017
Time and Place: 1/2 hour after adjournment Senate Room B

S.B. 799 Companion animal; surgical sterilization program, penalty.

Patron: Stanley

Companion animal surgical sterilization program; fund; penalty. Establishes a fund to reimburse participating veterinarians for the surgical sterilizations they perform on eligible cats or dogs. The bill requires that a surcharge of $5 per ton of pet food distributed in the Commonwealth be deposited in the fund and that such pet food be exempted from the existing litter tax. An animal will be eligible for sterilization under the program at no or reduced cost to its owner or caretaker if it is a feral or free-roaming cat or is owned by a low-income individual or a releasing agency such as an animal shelter. The bill establishes penalties for providing false information or submitting false payment requests.

A BILL to amend and reenact 3.2-6500 and 58.1-1708 of the Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding sections numbered 3.2-6504.2, 3.2-6504.3, 3.2-6504.4, and 58.1-1707.1, relating to companion animals; surgical sterilization program; penalty.

17100677D

S.B. 801 Dogs; public animal shelters required to notify intent to euthanize.

Patron: Stanley

Public animal shelters; dogs; euthanasia. Requires a public animal shelter to notify any person or releasing agency of its intent to euthanize an abandoned dog, and to wait five days before euthanizing the dog, if the person or agency has requested the adoption or transfer of the particular animal. The shelter is not required to provide such notice if it has reason to believe that the dog has injured a human or the dog meets certain other specified conditions for euthanasia.

A BILL to amend and reenact 3.2-6546 of the Code of Virginia, relating to dogs; euthanasia after notice.

17100684D

S.B. 820 Menhaden fishery; VMRC to adopt regulations for managing the Commonwealth's fishery.

Patron: Cosgrove

Management of menhaden. Requires the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to adopt regulations to implement the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic menhaden and authorizes the Commission to adopt regulations for managing the Commonwealth's menhaden fishery. The bill also requires that any moratorium on the fishery be subject to legislative review. Several existing codified provisions relating quotas, allocation of allowable landings, and administrative procedures are repealed and will be included in a regulatory framework for managing the fishery.

A BILL to amend and reenact 2.2-4002, 2.2-4103, 28.2-201, 28.2-409, and 28.2-410 of the Code of Virginia and to repeal 28.2-400.2 through 28.2-400.6, 28.2-405, 28.2-411, and 28.2-1000.2 of the Code of Virginia, relating to management of the menhaden fishery.

17100639D

S.B. 866 Boating safety course; database listing operators who have passed course.

Patron: Stuart

Boating safety course; database listing operators who have passed course. Directs the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (the Department) to create a database listing the name and date of birth of every person who has at any time passed an approved boating safety course. The bill requires a law-enforcement officer to search the database for the identity of a motorboat operator if the operator states that he has complied with the requirements for boating safety education by passing the boating safety course.

A BILL to amend and reenact 29.1-735.2 of the Code of Virginia, relating to boating safety education; database.

17101148D

S.B. 984 Water Quality Improvement Fund; water reuse facilities.

Patron: Dance

Water Quality Improvement Fund; water reuse facilities. Includes technologies in water reuse facilities that result in the reduction of nutrient discharges in the definition of nutrient removal technology.

A BILL to amend and reenact 10.1-2117 of the Code of Virginia, relating to nutrient removal technology; water reuse facilities.

17101508D

S.B. 1127 State Water Control Board; stormwater management programs, regulations, professional license.

Patron: Obenshain

State Water Control Board; stormwater management programs; regulations; professional license. Directs the State Water Control Board to adopt regulations requiring that all plan elements, specifications, or calculations whose preparation requires a license in engineering, architecture, soil science, or a related profession be signed and sealed by a licensed professional. The bill requires the regulations to be effective no later than July 1, 2018, and exempts them from certain provisions of the Administrative Process Act ( 2.2-4000 et seq.).

A BILL to amend and reenact 62.1-44.15:28, as it is currently effective and as it shall become effective, of the Code of Virginia, relating to stormwater management programs; regulations.

17103564D

S.B. 1143 Oyster or clam grounds; lease assignments in Lynnhaven River and its tributaries.

Patron: DeSteph

Oyster or clam grounds; Lynnhaven River; navigable channels. Provides that oyster or clam ground lease assignments in the Lynnhaven River and its tributaries are subject to the rights of riparian landowners to open and mark channels necessary for navigable access to their property.

A BILL to amend and reenact 28.2-618 and 28.2-630 of the Code of Virginia, relating to oyster or clam grounds; Lynnhaven River; navigation channels.

17101559D

S.B. 1144 Marine Resources Commission; oyster planting grounds; notice of application for lease.

Patron: DeSteph

Marine Resources Commission; oyster planting grounds; notice of application for lease. Requires the Marine Resources Commission (the Commission) to post notice of an application to lease oyster planting grounds for 30 days on its website and to notify by mail the county or city in which the grounds are located, any current holders of adjoining leases, and riparian owners within 200 feet of the selected grounds. Current law requires posting of notice at the local courthouse for 60 days. The bill (i) reduces from four weeks to two weeks the period during which the Commission is required to publish weekly notice of the application in a newspaper and (ii) requires all forms of notice to invite written comments. The bill also provides that the applicant shall bear the cost of notice.

A BILL to amend and reenact 28.2-606 of the Code of Virginia, relating to oyster planting grounds; notice of application.

17100832D

S.B. 1145 Riparian planting grounds lease; eligibility.

Patron: DeSteph

Riparian planting grounds lease; eligibility. Reduces from 205 feet to 105 feet the minimum low-water shore front that makes the land owner eligible to apply for riparian planting grounds assignment by the Commissioner of the Marine Resources Commission.

A BILL to amend and reenact 28.2-600 of the Code of Virginia, relating to riparian planting ground assignment eligibility.

17101396D

S.B. 1147 Companion animals; changes penalty to Class 6 felony for cruelty to animals.

Patron: DeSteph

Cruelty to animals; companion animals; penalty. Changes from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony the penalty for torturing or willfully inflicting inhumane injury or pain to a companion animal, defined as a domestic or feral dog, domestic or feral cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit not raised for human food or fiber, exotic or native animal, reptile, or exotic or native bird. Current law requires that the animal die as a direct result of the torture or cruelty and that the companion animal is a dog or cat before the violation is a Class 6 felony.

A BILL to amend and reenact 3.2-6570 of the Code of Virginia, relating to cruelty to animals; companion animals; penalty.

17102430D

S.B. 1195 Produce safety; farm inspections; Agriculture Civil Penalty Fund; penalties.

Patron: Stuart

Produce safety; farm inspections; Agriculture Civil Penalty Fund; penalties. Prohibits certain farms from violating the federal regulations that set minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables. The bill authorizes the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services to adopt regulations to carry out the purposes of the law and gives the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services free access at all reasonable hours to any farm to inspect the farm and take samples. The Commissioner also is authorized to seize certain produce that he believes to violate the federal regulations or state law. The bill makes the act of obstructing an inspector a Class 2 misdemeanor and of violating any other provision of the law or a Board regulation a Class 1 misdemeanor. In lieu of a criminal penalty, the Board is authorized to levy a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation, to be deposited in an Agriculture Civil Penalty Fund that is created by the bill.

A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Chapter 1 of Title 3.2 an article numbered 4, consisting of a section numbered 3.2-116, and by adding in Title 3.2 a chapter numbered 51.1, consisting of sections numbered 3.2-5146 through 3.2-5153, relating to produce safety; Agriculture Civil Penalty Fund; penalties.

17101491D

S.B. 1204 Sale of dog or cat not obtained from releasing agency or animal rescue.

Patron: Lewis

Sale of dog or cat not obtained from releasing agency or animal rescue. Authorizes localities to adopt ordinances prohibiting the sale in a business of any dog or cat that was not obtained from a Virginia releasing agency or a nonprofit animal rescue organization.

A BILL to amend and reenact 3.2-6545 of the Code of Virginia, relating to source of dog or cat for sale; local ordinance.

17102768D

S.B. 1218 Killing of dog or cat prohibited; penalty.

Patron: Stanley

Killing of dog or cat prohibited; penalty. Prohibits the humane killing of a dog or cat that is a companion animal unless the animal poses an immediate physical threat to a person or is in extreme distress and would suffer further as a result of a delay in seeking veterinary care. The bill makes a violation a Class 2 misdemeanor, with any subsequent violation a Class 6 felony. The bill exempts from the prohibition any veterinarian or other authorized person who euthanizes a companion animal under Chapter 65 ( 3.2-6500 et seq.) of Title 3.2 of the Code of Virginia (Comprehensive Animal Care).

A BILL to amend and reenact 3.2-6570 of the Code of Virginia, relating to killing of dog or cat; penalty.

17103743D

S.B. 1224 Landowner liability; recreational access.

Patron: Stuart

Landowner liability; recreational access. Provides that a landowner who has entered into an agreement with a public entity or nonprofit concerning the use of his land for public recreation shall be immune from liability to a member of the public arising out of the recreational use of the land.

A BILL to amend and reenact 29.1-509 of the Code of Virginia, relating to landowner liability; recreational access.

17102744D

S.B. 1263 Cats and dogs; lifetime licenses.

Patron: Black

Cats and dogs; lifetime licenses. Authorizes the governing body of a county or city to provide for a lifetime dog or cat license. The bill also removes the minimum annual tax for a dog or cat, sets the maximum tax for a lifetime license at $50, and limits the fee for a duplicate dog or cat tag to $1.

A BILL to amend and reenact 3.2-6527, 3.2-6528, 3.2-6530, 3.2-6532, and 18.2-403.3 of the Code of Virginia, relating to dogs and cats; lifetime licenses.

17101857D

S.B. 1291 Well permit applications; disclosure of trade secrets.

Patron: Chafin

Well permit applications; disclosure of trade secrets. Authorizes the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (Department) to require disclosure of chemical ingredient names, chemical abstracts numbers, or the amount or concentration of chemicals or ingredients used to stimulate a well notwithstanding exclusion from mandatory disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act as a trade secret. The bill authorizes the Director of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (Director) to disclose such information to additional Department staff or state or local officials to assist the Department in responding to an emergency. The bill prohibits such individuals from disseminating such information further. The bill requires the Director to notify the party that submitted the trade secret of disclosure as soon as practicable. The bill prohibits orders issued pursuant to 45.1-361.27 from including trade secret information.

A BILL to amend and reenact 45.1-361.29 of the Code of Virginia, relating to well permit applications; disclosure of trade secrets.

17101749D

S.B. 1306 Industrial hemp; license.

Patron: Vogel

Industrial hemp; license. Requires the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services to create a license to grow industrial hemp outside of the industrial hemp research program with certain application, review, and operation requirements.

A BILL to amend and reenact 3.2-4112, 3.2-4115, 3.2-4116, 3.2-4117 and 54.1-3401 of the Code of Virginia, relating to industrial hemp licensure.

17103801D

S.B. 1349 Coastal Protection and Flooding Adaptation, Secretary for; creates position.

Patron: Lewis

Secretary for Coastal Protection and Flooding Adaptation. Creates the position of Secretary for Coastal Protection and Flooding Adaptation (the Secretary). The Secretary shall be responsible for consolidating into a single office the resources for coastal flooding threats and adaptation. The Secretary also shall be the lead in providing direction, ensuring accountability, and developing a statewide coastal flooding adaptation strategy. The Secretary, in cooperation with the Secretary of Natural Resources, shall identify sources of funding for needed implementation of strategies for coastal protection and flooding adaptation.

A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Chapter 2 of Title 2.2 an article numbered 2.2, consisting of a section numbered 2.2-203.4, relating to the creation of the Secretary for Coastal Protection and Flooding Adaptation.

17102084D

S.B. 1355 Riparian owner; dredging; oyster or clam grounds.

Patron: DeSteph

Riparian owner; dredging; oyster or clam grounds. Provides that the existing ability of a landowner to open a channel although he is not a lessee or riparian holder of suitable bottoms includes the actions of marking a channel, dredging a navigable channel for access to his property, and participating with a locality to dredge a channel outside his riparian area. The bill requires the Marine Resources Commission to consider a variety of factors when determining whether to grant or deny a lease for the use of state-owned bottomlands. Current law requires such consideration only for the granting or denial of a permit for such use. The bill also includes the use of state waters for navigation among the factors to be considered. Finally, the bill expands the area of state-owned submerged beds that are potentially off limits for oyster planting by including navigation projects that are authorized by the Commonwealth or by a locality among the areas where no lease shall be granted. Current law exempts navigation projects from leasing only when they are authorized by Congress. The bill contains technical amendments.

A BILL to amend and reenact 28.2-556, 28.2-603, 28.2-630, and 28.2-1205 of the Code of Virginia, relating to riparian owner; dredging; oyster or clam grounds.

17103780D

S.B. 1383 Coal ash; treatment by utilities; recycling.

Patron: Surovell

Coal ash; treatment by utilities; recycling. Requires electric utilities to recycle as much of their stored coal ash as is imported into the Commonwealth each year, on a pro rata basis. The bill directs the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the State Water Control Board (the Board) to include in any permit authorizing the storage of coal ash a requirement that the utility treat an amount of its coal ash equal to its share of the total amount of coal ash in Virginia multiplied by the amount of ash that is imported that year for use in concrete or other products. The bill authorizes each utility to recover its treatment costs from its ratepayers while requiring the utility to make an effort to sell the treated coal ash. Finally, the bill directs the Department of Transportation to enter into a memorandum of understanding with DEQ as required to permit the transportation and treatment of coal ash.

A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 10.1-1402.03, relating to coal ash; treatment by utilities.

17102837D

S.B. 1395 Small renewable energy projects; permits by rule.

Patron: Wagner

Small renewable energy projects; permits by rule. Provides that certain small renewable energy projects proposed, developed, constructed, or purchased by a public utility if the project's costs are not recovered from Virginia jurisdictional customers under base rates or a rate adjustment clause, or by a utility aggregation cooperative, are eligible for a permit by rule and are exempt from environmental review and permitting by the State Corporation Commission. The measure exempts a small renewable energy project for which the Department of Environmental Quality has issued a permit by rule from the requirement that it obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the construction or operation of the project. Finally, the measure increases the maximum rated capacity of solar and wind facilities that qualify as small renewable energy projects from 100 megawatts to 150 megawatts.

A BILL to amend and reenact 10.1-1197.5, 10.1-1197.6, and 10.1-1197.8 of the Code of Virginia, relating to small renewable energy projects; environmental permit by rule process.

17102610D

S.B. 1398 Coal combustion residuals unit; closure permit; assessments required.

Patron: Surovell

Coal combustion residuals unit; closure permit; assessments required. Prohibits the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) from issuing a draft permit for the closure of a coal combustion residuals unit (CCR unit) until he has reviewed an assessment of closure options prepared by the owner or operator of the CCR unit. The bill requires the owner or operator to identify water pollution and address corrective measures to resolve it, evaluate the clean closure of the CCR unit by recycling the ash for use in cement or moving it to a landfill, and demonstrate the long-term safety of the CCR unit and its ability to keep ash out of wetlands and other sensitive areas. The bill requires the owner or operator of each CCR unit to transmit the required assessments to DEQ and the Department of Conservation and Recreation and to identify a CCR unit that would be a suitable site for an ash processing facility. The Director of DEQ is required to receive comments on the assessments.

A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Article 2.1 of Chapter 14 of Title 10.1 a section numbered 10.1-1413.3, relating to coal combustion residuals unit; closure permit; evaluation.

17103805D

S.B. 1399 Coal combustion by-product impoundments; closure requirements.

Patron: Surovell

Coal combustion by-product impoundments; closure requirements. Directs the Department of Environmental Quality to require the closure of surface impoundments of coal combustion by-products, commonly called coal ash ponds, by July 1, 2021. The bill applies to impoundments that managed such by-products from the generation of electricity by an electric utility or independent power producer prior to December 22, 2016, including those impoundments that, prior to December 22, 2016, have been closed by capping in place or have received Department approval for closure by capping in place. The bill requires that the coal combustion by-products be removed for disposal in a permitted landfill meeting federal criteria and that the impoundment site be reclaimed in a manner consistent with federal mine reclamation standards for the closure to be deemed complete. The bill allows an investor-owned public electric utility to recover the costs of closure from customers.

A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Article 2.1 of Chapter 14 of Title 10.1 a section numbered 10.1-1413.3, relating to coal combustion by-product impoundments; closure requirements.

17102821D

S.B. 1402 Marine Resources Commission; lease of oyster-planting ground; ground use plan.

Patron: DeSteph

Marine Resources Commission; lease of oyster-planting ground; ground use plan. Directs the Marine Resources Commission to determine whether, for certain oyster-planting grounds, an application for assignment, transfer, or renewal of a lease also requires the submission of a ground use plan that the Commission deems acceptable. The bill removes a provision allowing renewal of a lease in spite of the absence of production where good cause is shown.

A BILL to amend and reenact 28.2-605, 28.2-613, and 28.2-625 of the Code of Virginia, relating to Marine Resources Commission; assignment of oyster planting grounds; use plan.

17103753D