Agriculture, Horticulture and Food
Comprehensive Animal Laws. Revises the Comprehensive Animal Laws, particularly with respect to humane investigators, animal control officers, and the State Veterinarian's representatives. For humane investigators, the bill eliminates their authority to arrest, imposes new continuing education requirements, details procedures for their appointment and removal, and requires them to carry identification during the performance of their duties and keep records of investigations. For animal control officers (known under current law as animal wardens), the bill imposes new training and continuing education requirements. The bill defines "State Veterinarian's representatives" and empowers them to inspect businesses where animals are kept and enforce laws regarding the care of animals. The bill also requires humane investigators and animal control officers to consult with State Veterinarian's representatives before impounding agricultural animals and makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to impersonate a humane investigator.
- Patron - Jackson
Agriculture; Winegrowers Advisory Board. Increases from 15 to 16 the number of members on the Winegrowers Advisory Board. The president of the Virginia Tourism Corporation is the new member of the Winegrowers Advisory Board.
- Patron - Grayson
Virginia Charity Food Assistance Act. Establishes the Charity Food Assistance Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will advise the Board and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on hunger and nutrition issues. This bill is identical to SB 681.
- Patron - Landes
Virginia Horse Industry Board. Allows certain members of the Board to designate an alternate to attend meetings in the member's place. The member may execute a proxy allowing the alternate vote.
- Patron - Couric
Dog and cat licenses. Makes it optional for localities to indicate the sex of the animal on license tags. Currently, tags must indicate sex.
- Patron - Quayle
Donations of food to charitable organizations by certain businesses. Clarifies the term "retailers of food" to include grocery, convenience and other types of stores selling food and food products when donating food to food banks or charitable organizations for subsequent distribution to needy persons, thereby limiting their civil liability for such donations. The bill also makes clear that the charitable organizations (food banks and others) distributing the food will likewise be exempt from civil liability except for gross negligence or intentional acts that directly result in injury or death.
- Patron - Martin
Virginia Charity Food Assistance Act. Establishes the Charity Food Assistance Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will advise the Board and the Department on Agriculture and Consumer Services on hunger and nutrition issues. This bill is identical to HB 1174.
- Patron - Hanger
Southern Dairy Compact. Establishes the compact and creates the Southern Dairy Compact Commission, to which the Governor will appoint five members. In addition to conducting studies and making recommendations on market conditions and milk pricing policy, the Commission is authorized, so long as federal milk marketing orders remain in effect in the region, to establish a compact over-order price. If such orders are terminated, the Commission may establish one or more commission marketing orders. In either case, the Commission must conduct a referendum of producers. The Commission may collect assessments from handlers to pay for administration and enforcement of the compact and administration of an over-order price or a compact marketing order, if established. The declared purpose of the compact is not to displace existing federal milk marketing orders or state dairy regulation but to supplement them.
- Patron - Reasor
Companion animals; definition. Classifies potbellied pigs as "companion animals" under Chapter 27.4 of Title 3.1, the Comprehensive Animal Laws.
- Patron - Deeds
Compensation for livestock and poultry killed by dogs. Makes it optional for localities to compensate livestock and poultry owners whose animals are killed or injured by dogs. Currently, localities must compensate such owners if they first exhaust any legal remedies against the dogs' owners, if known; furnish evidence, within 60 days of discovering the damage, of the quantity and value of the dead or injured livestock; and notify the animal warden or other officer of the incident within 72 hours of discovering the damage.
- Patron - Reynolds
Virginia Livestock Protection Act. Requires VDOT to construct certain fences and/or cattle guards along certain highway rights-of-way.
- Patron - Marye
Labeling of produce, peanuts, bee pollen and honey. Requires that produce, peanuts, bee pollen and honey produced in any country other than the United States be labeled to indicate to the ultimate purchaser the country of origin. Retail vendors who remove such markings are subject to a $500 civil penalty.
- Patron - Bloxom
Veterinary liens. Provides that a lien exists on any animal in a veterinarian's care and establishes procedures for notice, perfecting the lien, amount of lien, and disposal of an animal for which veterinary bills have not been paid or which has not been retrieved by its owner.
- Patron - Jackson
Right to Farm Act. Provides that the purpose of the Right to Farm Act is to reduce the loss of Virginia's agricultural resources by limiting the circumstances under which agricultural operations may be deemed a nuisance, especially when nonagricultural land uses are initiated near existing agricultural operations. The bill provides that no agricultural operation shall be deemed a nuisance as a result of changed conditions in or about the locality if the agricultural enterprise has been in operation for one year. The bill's language tracks the provisions of the Act before it was amended in 1994 and restores the authority of local governments to adopt ordinances that require special use permits in agriculturally zoned districts.
- Patron - Councill
Pesticide regulations. Allows the Pesticide Control Board to promulgate regulations categorizing pesticides for registration and fee purposes into (i) consumer protection and health benefits products and (ii) crop protection and commercial pesticides.
- Patron - Davies
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