HOUSE PASSES MODIFIED SUNDAY HUNTING
Th PA House of Representatives passed Sunday hunting in a 144-54 vote on October 30. Senate Bill 147 (Laughlin-R-Eroe0 now authorizes three Sundays for hunting, one with firearms, one with archery, and one to be determined by the PA Game Commission. An earlier House committee amendment was a provision requiring written permission from the property owner before hunting could take place. On the House floor, four additional amendments were added to: make the bill effective in 90 days instead of immediately (NOTE: Sunday hunting will NOT take place this year.); authorize use of local law enforcement to assist with trespassing complaints if needed; allowing an unarmed person to enter posted property to retrieve a hunting dog; and a technical amendment. The bill now goes back to the Senate seeking concurrence with the House amendments. The Senate returns November 18. Following is a link to the roll call vote:
HOUSE AG COMMITTEE MOVES DAIRY BILLS
On October 23, the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee reported out two dairy aid bills sponsored by Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester). House Bill 1223 establishes regional Keystone Opportunity Dairy Zones (KOZs) to provide tax breaks for those investing in new milk processing facilities (or expanding existing facilities). House Bill 1224 authorizes the PA Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) to work with the Revenue Department to more accurately identify retail milk sales. By law, PA has a minimum retail price which includes monies which should go to PA dairy farmers. It is hard to track the money; hence the need for HB 1224.
At the committee meeting, House Bill 1755 (Zimmerman-R-Lancaster) was also reported out. This would mandate that the State Conservation Commission submit a number of required reports to the General Assembly. House Bill 918 (Schmitt-R-Blair) was also reported from committee. It repeals an 1857 law which established state funding for the ‘Farmers’ High School’, a precursor to the Pennsylvania State university.
SENATE PASSES TELEMEDICINE BILL
By a 47-1 vote on October 30, the PA Senate passed Senate Bill 857 (Vogel-R-Beaver) setting up standards for use of telemedicine. Especially important to rural areas with smaller numbers of health care providers and longer distances to go when receiving medical care, telemedicine is seen as a way to provide better access to treatment. The bill includes a requirement that health insurance companies will reimburse health care providers for both in-person and telemedicine services in accord without discriminating against telemedicine claims payments. In addition, SB 857 specifically prohibits health insurers from disallowing payment solely because a health care service is provided by telemedicine. It was referred to the House Insurance Committee where it joins House Bill 15 (Readshaw-D-Allegheny) and House Bill 872 (Day-R-Lehigh/Berks).
Previously, House Resolution 193 (McNeill-D-Northampton) was adopted by the House on June 4 directing the Joint State Government Commission to do a study on the shortage of mental health care providers and what telemedicine might do to reduce the lack of access to these services.
- Due by November19: Agriculture & Youth Organization Grant Program was created by the PA Farm Bill to provide grants to eligible agriculture and youth organizations for projects such as educational programs, work force development programs, eligible seminars and field trips, agricultural safety programs, capital projects, equipment purchases and special projects as approved. Details: Morgan Sheffield 717-787-3568
- December 2 is the closing date for applications for the State-level Specialty Crop Grant Program made possible by the PA Farm Bill enacted over the summer. In addition to Federally-recognized specialty crops, the PA grant program also recognizes hemp, hops, hardwood, honey, and barley/rye/wheat for distilling, brewing and malting. Details: Ashley Fehr 717-803-1452, or www.esa.dced.state.pa.us/login.aspx.
DATES & REMINDERS
- November 15 is the deadline for the 2019 Soybean Yield Contest to receive harvest yield reports. Forms are available from the PA Soybean Board at www.pasoybean.org.
- November 20 the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee has scheduled an informational meeting on activities of county conservation districts.
- Dairy Margin Coverage enrollment ends December 13, 2019.
- December 2019 has Extension Soybean Production Workshops scheduled; December 10, Fulton County; December 12, Luzerne County; December 17, Juniata County; and December 19 in Lycoming County. Details: 877-345-0691, www.extension.psu.edu/soybean-production.
FARMER SAFETY ADVISORY
Emergency Email & Wireless Critical News newsletter reports that John Deere issued a safety recall for compact utility tractors sold between October 2016 through September 2019 (recall Number 20-706). Owners can get their tractors fixed free of charge at a John Deere dealer. (Model 4044R Serial Numbers 400284 -401619; Model 4052R, Serial Numbers 400381-403424; and Model 4066R, Serial Numbers 401588-407220)