Governor Bullock Amends Ag Seed Bill


Before heading home for Easter, the Montana Senate adopted amendments to SB155, as proposed in an amendatory veto by Governor Steve Bullock. The Senate concurred with the Governor on April 13, Legislative Day 79.


As reported earlier on Northern Ag Network, Montana Ag groups strongly supported the bill to clarify that agricultural seed should be regulated at the state level, much the same as agricultural fertilizer is currently. 


It is safe to say that most of those ag groups were not pleased to see the bill amended by the Governor; but they do seem appreciative to have at least made some progress toward consistency of government regulation.


In his letter to the Senate asking to amend the text of HB155, Governor Bullock asked the legislature to remove the same six words from the bill, in two places.  His official statement said that he felt HB155, “…goes further than necessary to accomplish its intent.  My amendments clarify that local governments are NOT prohibited from adopting regulations governing the REGISTRATION, LABELING, NOTIFICATION OF USE, and MARKETING of agricultural seeds”, (emphasis added).  If both houses approve the governor's recommendations, then the bill will be returned to the governor for his reconsideration.


The language still remaining in SB155, after the Governor’s amendatory veto, specifically prohibits local governments from adopting local regulations relating to the cultivation, harvesting, production, processing, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, possession, use, and planting of agricultural seeds or vegetable seeds. 


Farmers and ranchers hope that SB 155, which was introduced by Senator Mike Lang of Malta, will provide them some protection from a potential patchwork of local regulation, such as the kind that has recently caused much uncertainty in several western states like Oregon, Washington, California and most recently Colorado.   (CLICK HERE to read the recent Northern Ag Network report from Boulder County in Colorado, which recently voted to ban the growing of genetically modified corn and sugar beets on all county-owned farmland.) 


Northern Ag Network – 2017

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