PFB Monitoring Moving Legislation in PA House, Senate; Farm Bill Markup Scheduled

This week has been a busy one for the Pennsylvania legislature, as Farm Bureau is tracking several bills that have seen action in recent days, including House Bill 997 and Senate Bill 800.

House Bill 997, known as the Whole Milk in Pennsylvania Schools Act would ensure that Pennsylvania school children have access to Pennsylvania-produced whole milk. The bill passed the House last session, 196-2, but was not considered in the Senate. The bill passed out of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee with no opposition on Tuesday. The bill was then tabled on the House floor. PFB sent a letter of support to the committee.

Senate Bill 800, an eminent domain reform bill accounting for farmer’s goodwill, was amended and reported out of the Senate State Government Committee on Tuesday. Farm Bureau sent a letter requesting a “yes” vote on both the amendments and the full bill. The amendments would expand the bill’s provisions to businesses outside agriculture and provide greater transparency during the eminent domain process.

The state House Game & Fisheries Committee has scheduled a voting meeting for May 22 on Rep. Mandy Steele’s House Bills 2106, 2107 & 2108. The package of bills is intended to begin to mitigate the issue of crop damage and other wildlife issues affecting farmers across Pennsylvania.

The package of bills includes stricter trespass penalties, streamlined deer carcass removal, ensures at least one game commissioner meets the definition of a farmer, adds a database of good-standing hunters for farmers to contact, and removes the restrictions on Sunday hunting.

PFB fully supports these bills as they currently are written. As long as these key PFB priority issues are addressed in these bills, PFB will support Sunday hunting within this package. This is according to our policy: “We recommend supporting Sunday hunting if multiple PFB policy priorities are included in legislation.”

At the Federal Level, the U.S. House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee announced that a Farm Bill markup has been scheduled for May 23rd. The farm bill is essential for farmers and ranchers, as it ensures funding for risk management tools for farmers.

The comprehensive package also ensures: our nation’s food supply remains secure; access to nutrition for low-income families; availability of conservation programs; trade development and investments in agricultural research. 

We urge lawmakers to recognize this significance and stay focused on a new, modernized farm bill that addresses the many changes and challenges of the past and what’s to come. Farm Bureau is also looking to find a bipartisan legislative fix to California’s Proposition 12 in farm bill.

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