April 2, 2021
Newsletter For April 2, 2021
This Issue:
  • Two Water Bills Headed To Monday, April 5th Assembly Hearing
  • Your Help Necessary In Farm Bureau’s Work On Capital Gains Taxes and Stepped Up Basis
  • Hearing Is Scheduled For Tuesday, April 6 For Bill To Get Rid of Natural Gas and Propane
  • Farm Bureau Urges Study Before You Leap Approach On Land Grant Designation
  • Legislation To Change Representatives On The Board of Agriculture Moves Forward
  • Farm Bureau Urges Study Before You Leap Approach On Land Grant Designation
Two Water Bills Headed To Monday, April 5th Assembly Hearing
Last week’s newsletter covered the introduction on March 22nd  the two long-awaited water bills which seek to bring the solutions that other neighboring states have implemented (or are in the process of implementing) to solve what the Division of Water Resources believe are Nevada’s water problem. The Assembly Ways and Means Committee did the introduction of the two water bills and after being introduced, they have gone to the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, where they will be heard on Monday, April 5. 

AB 354 is proposed to create a Nevada Water Bank system.  In recent conversations, Nevada Farm Bureau has been attempting to put a different perspective on what the “Water Bank” really is…  

The use of a term “Bank” implies that there is something of a “Savings” element…some have even said that they were thinking they could “store” water in such a “Bank” one year and go back next year to get it back.  A more appropriate concept is to consider this as a market or a leasing operation, seeking to get agricultural water from those who use the water for irrigation and into the hands of others who may or may not be using the water for irrigation.

AB 356 is proposed to establish a conservation program that would provide a voluntary system for changing agricultural irrigation methods that cause reductions of water used.  The “saved water” from the increases efficiency would be protected from being lost to non-use and the state would split the saved water (75 percent to the water right owner and 25 percent to the state).

Under the bill’s language, when enough “save water” in a groundwater basin was acquired by the state to meet the level which exceeds the 10 percent buffer amount – they would start considering appropriation of the water that was “saved” for others.

The State Engineer has promised amendments for the bills, which supposedly will be in response to the concerns that many (including Farm Bureau) have raised with the Division of Water Resources going back to this past December.  You can’t say much about something you haven’t seen…and at this point the promised amendments haven’t been delivered for review.

It will be critical for Farm Bureau members to reach out to members of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee to let them know of your opposition to AB 354 and AB 356.  We would also appreciate you clicking on this link to register your opinion with the legislature.
Your Help Necessary In Farm Bureau’s Work On Capital Gains Taxes and Stepped Up Basis
The inability to do away with the Death Tax over the years has historically moved instead to “solutions” which raise the cap in order to provide some protection for estates which fit under the level that has been provided by Congress.  The change in the Administration inhabiting the White House and taking majority in control of the House and Senate re-raises the potential for adjustments in Death Taxes to capture more funds for the U.S. Treasury. This Action Request is an important activity that we strongly encourage you to become part of…logging into the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF’s) Advocacy platform to send emails to your elected representatives in Washington, D.C..

The recently announced Biden Administration’s “once in a lifetime investment opportunity” for infrastructure improvements is based on a “pay for” plan to use death taxes and changes to end the stepped up basis to impose greater capital gains taxes associated with the Death Tax.  This video offers a great insight on the details for the Stepped Up Basis The proposed tax hike in the Senate (Opposed by Farm Bureau) is called the “Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion (STEP) Act.”  It is sponsored by Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.  The House bill (H.R. 2286) is sponsored by Representative Bill Pascrell of New Jersey. 
Hearing Is Scheduled For Tuesday, April 6 For Bill To Get Rid of Natural Gas and Propane
Last week’s newsletter covered the agenda of forcing Nevada citizens to switch away from natural gas and propane. AB 380 will be heard in a hearing before the Assembly Committee on Growth and Infrastructure at 1:30 on Tuesday, April 6th. Nevada Farm Bureau is planning to testify in opposition to AB 380 and hopefully convince legislators that forcing Nevada citizens to not use natural gas or propane isn’t something that should be part of government’s place.  

The bill is intended to work through the Public Utilities Commission as the authority to require natural gas utilities to deliver the necessary plans for doing away with themselves and the ability to use their products.  Propane is also tied into this systematic deletion in order to reach the ultimate goal of no Green House Gases coming from Nevada by 2050.  Ultimately the strategy is to force consumers, over time, to conversion to equipment that doesn’t have combustible fuel as an option. 

Nevada Farm Bureau is working with the Coalition For Cleaner Affordable Energy to push back against AB 380.  We would encourage you to visit the Coalition’s Website and take advantage of the opening page’s application for you to send an email note to your legislator in opposition to AB 380.  We also strongly encourage using the Legislature’s Public Opinion Page to voice opposition to AB 380… Clicking on this link will take you to the page to register your opposition.

A closed Legislative Building and the hosts of terrible bills, makes it critical for as many citizens as possible weigh in to make it clear that their plans aren’t acceptable.
Farm Bureau Urges Study Before You Leap Approach On Land Grant Designation
As introduced, SB 287 had a wide range of changes for the revamp of how Cooperative Extension, Agricultural Research and the Land Grant University would be operated.  Just prior to the start of the Senate’s Education Committee, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Dallas Harris, agreed to an amendment from the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) which added to her planned conceptual amendment for nearly a total rewrite of the legislative proposal.  The final conceptual amendment looks this and now only really deals with a law that says that the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) are also Land Grant institutions, along with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).

Section 2 of the rewrite of SB 287 calls for the Chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education to develop a plan for how the expanded Land Grant University System would operate and manage shared resources, reporting back to the Nevada Legislature on what that plan would be.

In Nevada Farm Bureau’s testimony on Section 2, and also in an earlier discussion with Senator Harris, the recommendation was to have the plan be developed first and presented to the Legislature in order to have a clearer understanding of what the consequences would be before “jumping off the cliff.”  Nevada Farm Bureau and others have serious reservations over what the federal government’s view would be for providing federal funding for this new system.  Eureka County’s Jake Tibbits offered this written background, which Nevada Farm Bureau agreed with and urged committee members to study closely.

Farm Bureau’s testimony also stated, “We agree with his assessment (Jake Tibbit’s testimony) that multiplying the entities with designations as Land Grant institutions will not increase funding available from the federal government for support of Land Grant programs.”

“We see this approach as taking an underfunded institution, serving as a Land Grant University and dividing the available funds into three even more insufficiently financed operations.”

In closing, Farm Bureau requested that more information be supplied on the types of programs and activities that UNLV and DRI will be doing to earn the designations being given to them as “Land Grant” institutions.
Legislation To Change Representatives On The Board of Agriculture Moves Forward
SB 54 was acted on in the Senate Natural Resources Committee, passed as amended on a party-line split vote. Thee Nevada Board of Agriculture had presented and amendment, keeping the current membership with additional seats added to provide representation that were in the original bill. A different make-up was presented and gained the final approval to be included as the amendment.  
 
The Director was not in favor of having Nevada Farm Bureau’s proposed amendment for requiring all regulations related to the Department’s programs to be brought to the Board of Agriculture for consideration and approval and those who voted to approve the bill as amended were also not in support of the Farm Bureau proposed amendment. Thank you to Senator Ira Hansen and Senator Pete Goicoechea for their “No” votes on the bill, as amended, which came out of committee. Senator Goicoechea pushed very hard to have Farm Bureau’s amendment included, but wasn’t able to gain agreement for that change.
Farm Bureau Testifies Against Neonicotinoid Pesticide Bill
In testimony before the Nevada Assembly Natural Resources Committee, Nevada Farm Bureau testified against AB 275 which was proposed by Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow of Clark County and directs the Nevada Department of Agriculture to designate Neonicotinoid products as restricted use pesticides.

Nevada Farm Bureau’s testimony stressed that the Department of Agriculture had the responsibility, the authority and the process to designate whatever pesticide products that were causing problems as restricted use products -- they don’t need AB 275 to solve a problem or bring about a politically-motivated agenda.
Have a great weekend!