Equine Industry Specific

SB 62: Making MHIB Self-Funded
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) requested this bill that would increase the fees for licensing and inspecting horse stables and will direct the revenue collected from these fees into the Maryland Horse Industry Board Fund. This increase will help the Maryland Horse Industry Board meet increased costs associated with stable inspections.

The Maryland Horse Council supported this bill, lest legislators decide to keep the stable inspection fees in the general fund, but cut MHIB’s general fund allocation, whichwould then make the MHIB rely on the feed fund program. This is problematic because the feed fund was intended to provide funding for marketing programs and grants, not underwrite the stable inspection program.

SB 62 passed and will become law under the Governor’s signature on Tuesday, April 13.

Racing & Slots Related

SB 882/HB 1077: Temporary Slots at Rocky Gap

Would allow a temporary slots establishment to be housed in the Rocky Gap Lodge until a permanent facility could be built; would then allow the permanent facility to be conected to the Rocky Gap Lodge; no admissions or amusement taxes would be imposed on proceeds from the slot machines, and the operator will be able to keep a larger percentage of the revenue for five years.

SB 882 was amended, passed and, as of press time, awaits the Governor’s signature.

General Ag

SB 82: Commercial Feed Law
According to the Maryland Farm Bureau, this bill “updates Maryland Commercial Feed Law to reflect changes to the definitions of “commercial feed” and “adulterated” as proposed in teh model bill presented by the Association of Feed. Control Officials (see equiery.com’s News Feed or the March 2010 Equiery for more details.)

SB 82 has passes and was signed by the Governor on April 13.

Ag Land Preservation

SB 95: MALPF Farmland Preservation Partnership Program
MDA requested this bill that would allow the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation to form partnerships to purchase qualified farmland and also make some administrative changes. MHC is questioning some of the language in the bill, as it could be interpreted to either include or exclude horse farms, and will continue to monitor this and other provisions.

This bill passed and was signed into law on April 13.

New Hunting Laws

HB 301: Calvert & St. Mary’s Counties Sunday Hunting
In April we reported that this bill to expand Sunday firearms’ season appeared stalled, perhaps destined to die in limbo-but it sprang back to life, passed with amendments and will become law upon the Governor’s signature. This new law will allow gun hunting on the first Sunday of bow hunting season and each Sunday in the deer firearms season in Calvert and St, Mary’s Counties, and was amended to include Charles County and to allow use of a crossbow.

HB 246: Western MD Sunday Hunting on Private Property

Will allow bow and arrow hunting on the first Sunday of the deer firearms season, this bill adds Allegany and Garrett Counties to the growing list of counties that already allow this.

HB 246 has passed and was signed into law by the Governor on April

HB 851: Talbot Co. Sunday Hunting on Private Property & SB 978: Sunday Hunting, Private Property in Talbot Co.
Would extend the safety zone for 50 yards from a dwelling house, residence, church, or any other building or camp occupied by human beings; passed and awaits the Governor’s signature.