LEGISLATIVE REPORT June 27, 2018
Friday, the governor signed an important piece of legislation that I sponsored during the 2018 legislative session. Senate Bill 782 includes several provisions regarding the Depart-ment of Natural Resources while also adding language to state law protecting farmers from issues surrounding storm water run-off.
Having spent most of my life exploring the vast lands of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and the other wonderful state parks and lands in our area, I have always been passionate about ensuring that Missouri’s natural beauty is preserved for future generations. This bill includes provisions intended to protect that resource.
Senate Bill 782 extends certain fees, bonds and assessment structures implemented by DNR and other organizations. Previously, the director of the Depart-ment of Natural Resources, the Hazardous Waste Management Commission, the Missouri Mining Com-mission and the Clean Water Commission could modify their existing fee structures. The authority of the director of those commissions to modify their existing fee structures expires on Aug. 28, 2024. Under this new law, any changes or fee modifications implemented will also expire in August 2024. There are no fee increases in this legislation; the new law simply extends the expiration date for fees already associated with these programs.
Senate Bill 782 also exempts agriculture storm water run-off from clean-water permitting requirements. Current state regulations and federal laws already exempt agriculture storm water run-off from requiring special permits. This legislation clarifies that storm water leaving farm fields will not be considered illegal, except under certain extreme circumstances. Not only do these changes make it clearer as to what types of run-off are allowed, they also align state law with existing federal law and ultimately protect farmers from regulatory uncertainty when it comes to permits.
However, if someone is found to be dumping an agriculture product or waste in a stream or along its banks, it is still considered illegal. I believe the goal of Senate Bill 782 is to protect our state’s farmers from unnecessary regulations.
When this law goes into effect on Aug. 28, landowners will also be allowed to use private water systems for the collection of rainwater. Senate Bill 782 also extends the 50-cent fee collected for the Hazardous Waste Fund, which was set to expire at the end of the year. Senate Bill 782 extends it through 2024.
If you would like to arrange a time to visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please contact my Capitol office at 573-751-1882.