Posted: 24 Jan 2011 03:34 PM PST
House Ag Committee met on Monday, January 24th, to address its first three bills under the new chairman Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) and vice chairman Rep. Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulfur Springs). They welcomed many new committee members as the Republicans hold a 7-6 majority over the Democrats.
They passed HB 1004 (Farm Truck Registration) which CFB has a position of support on. This bill would allow for farm plate registration on a vehicle used primarily for agriculture on farm or ranch that is classified as Ag land for property tax purposes. It was run last year and was failed, so this is the second attempt at this measure.
The second bill was HB 1040 which extended state conservation board term limits to be four years, instead of three years.
The third and final bill was HB 1039 (animal cruelty regarding steer tailing). This is a measure brought forward by HSUS. The bill would have defined animal cruelty when dragging a bovine by the tail or lasso/rope legs of equine for entertainment or sport. The bill was killed by the House Ag Committee on a vote of 8-5. "No" votes to kill the bill were: J. Paul Brown, Don Coram, Marsha Looper, Wes McKinley, Ray Scott, Glenn Vaad, Randy Baumgardner, and Jerry Sonnenberg. CFB had a position of opposition on this measure. If this bill would have passed, it would have had unintended consequences for production agriculture. This bill, if it would have passed, would have defined and added two very specific issues to the Colorado Animal Welfare statute. Current statute has broad definitions as to what constitutes cruelty but it allows an animal welfare control office the discretion to assess the situation to determine what is best for the animal. The definition included in HB 1039 was a specific definition and would have limited the discretion of an animal control officer. Colorado Farm Bureau believes that this is the wrong approach.