SECOND REGULAR SESSION
HOUSE BILL NO. 1949
96TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES SHIVELY (Sponsor), QUINN, HARRIS, BLACK, LOEHNER, RUZICKA, SCHIEFFER AND CAUTHORN (Co-sponsors).
4073L.02I D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk
To repeal section 278.080, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof one new section relating to The State Soil and Water Districts Commission.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Section 278.080, RSMo, is repealed and one new section enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as section 278.080, to read as follows:
278.080. 1. There is hereby established "The State Soil and Water Districts Commission" to administer for this state the soil and water conservation districts provided for by sections 278.060 to 278.300. The state soil and water districts commission shall formulate policies and general programs for the saving of Missouri soil and water by the soil and water conservation districts, and shall give consideration to the districts' needs based on their character; it shall receive and allocate or otherwise expend for the use or benefit of the soil and water conservation districts any funds appropriated by the general assembly for the use or benefit of such districts, including a soil and water conservation cost-share program; it shall receive and properly convey to the soil and water conservation districts any other form of aid extended to such districts by any other agency of this state, except that any money or other form of aid raised or provided within a soil and water district for the use or benefit of that soil and water district shall be received and administered by the governing body of that soil and water district; it shall exercise other authority conferred upon it and perform other duties assigned to it by sections 278.060 to 278.300; and it shall be the administrative agency to represent this state in these and all other matters arising from the provisions of sections 278.060 to 278.300.
2. The state soil and water districts commission shall be composed of four ex officio members and six farmer members. The six farmer members shall be appointed by the governor of Missouri with the advice and consent of the senate. Three of the farmer members shall reside in the portion of this state which is north of the Missouri River and three of the farmer members shall reside in the portion of this state which is south of the Missouri River. The membership shall be geographically dispersed with no more than one of the farmer members appointed from a state senatorial district. Not more than four of the farmer members shall be from the same political party. The ex officio members shall be the director of the department of natural resources, the director of the department of agriculture, the director of the department of conservation, and the dean of the college of agriculture of the University of Missouri. Each of the six farmer members shall be holding legal title to a farm, [and] shall be earning at least the principal part of the member's livelihood from a farm, and shall have soil and water conservation district board experience, all at the time of appointment to the commission. The farmer members shall each be appointed for a period of three years. All members of the commission serving as of June 27, 2000, may continue to serve the unexpired portion of the member's current term. There is no limitation on the number of terms that any of the farmer members appointed by the governor may serve. If any farmer member vacates his or her term for any reason prior to the expiration of such term, the governor may appoint a farmer member to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term. Each member of the commission shall continue to serve until the member's successor has been duly appointed and qualified.
3. The state soil and water districts commission may call upon the attorney general of the state for such legal services as it may require.
4. At its first meeting in each calendar year, the state soil and water districts commission shall select from its current members a chairman and a vice chairman. The ex officio members shall not have the power to vote on any matter before the commission. A quorum shall consist of four farmer members. For the determination of any matter within the commission's authority, at a meeting comprised of four farmer members, a concurrence of three shall be required. No business of the commission shall be executed in absence of a quorum. Each farmer member of the soil and water commission shall be entitled to expenses, including travel expenses, necessarily incurred in the discharge of his or her duties as a member of this commission. The state soil and water districts commission shall provide for the execution of surety bonds for all of its employees and officers who shall be entrusted with funds or property; shall provide for the keeping of a full and accurate record of all its proceedings and of all its resolutions, regulations, and orders issued or adopted; and shall provide for an annual audit of all its accounts of receipts and disbursements.
5. In addition to the authority and duty herein assigned to the state soil and water districts commission, it shall have the following authority and duty:
(1) To encourage the formation of soil and water conservation districts in areas where their establishment seems necessary and their administration seems feasible;
(2) To formulate and fix the rules and procedures for fair and impartial referendums on the establishing or disestablishment of soil and water districts and for fair and impartial selection of soil and water district supervisors;
(3) To receive petitions for the establishing of soil and water conservation districts as provided in section 278.100; to determine the validity of these petitions; to conduct hearings upon the subject of these petitions; to determine whether the establishment of a soil and water district as petitioned would be effective in the saving of soil and water within the proposed area, and whether a soil and water district if established could be feasibly administered; and, upon reaching a favorable conclusion on these matters, to call for a referendum on the establishing of the soil and water district as petitioned;
(4) To advise any soil and water conservation district in developing its program for saving the soil and water in order that such district may become eligible for any form of aid from state or federal sources;
(5) Subject to district allocations by the commission and other resources, to provide training, programs and other assistance to soil and water conservation districts to identify programs that respond to the character of the districts' needs;
(6) To obtain or accept the cooperation and financial, technical or material assistance of the United States or any of its agencies, and of this state or any of its agencies, for the work of such soil and water districts;
(7) To enter into agreements with the United States or any of its agencies on policies and general programs for the saving of Missouri soil and water by the extension of federal aid to any soil and water conservation district; to advise any soil and water conservation district; to advise any soil and water conservation district on the amount or kind of federal aid needed for the effective saving of soil and water in that district; to determine within the limits of available funds or other resources the amount or kind of state aid to be used for saving of soil and water in any soil and water conservation district; and to determine the withholding of state aid of any amount or kind from any soil and water conservation district that has failed to follow the policies of the state soil and water districts commission in any matter under the provisions of sections 278.060 to 278.300;
(8) To give such other proper assistance as the soil and water commission may judge to be useful to any soil and water district in the saving of soil and water in that district;
(9) To promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to effectively administer a state-funded soil and water conservation cost-share program. Any rule or portion of a rule promulgated under the authority of sections 278.060 to 278.300 shall become effective only if it has been promulgated pursuant to the provisions of chapter 536.
6. Unless prohibited by any federal or state law, the commission may grant individual variances to any rule or regulation promulgated thereto, upon presentation of adequate proof, that compliance with sections 278.070 to 278.300, or any rule or regulation, standard, requirement, limitation or order of the commission will have an arbitrary and unreasonable impact on landowners participating in soil and water conservation eligible practices. The commission shall promulgate such rules, regulations and administrative guidelines as necessary to effectively administer this section.