Senate Bill No. 148
(By Senators K. Facemyer and Williams)
[Introduced January 11, 2012; referred to the Committee on Agriculture; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §4-11A-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §19-1-4 of said code; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §19-1-4e, all relating to the Tobacco Settlement Fund; duties of the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture; duty to assist farmers to make the transition from growing tobacco to growing other crops or pursuing other agriculture-related businesses; creating the Transition Program for Tobacco Farmers’ Fund; and creating the Transition Program for Tobacco Farmers.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §4-11A-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; that §19-1-4 of said code be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §19-1-4e, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 4. THE LEGISLATURE.
ARTICLE 11A. LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATION OF TOBACCO SETTLEMENT FUNDS.
§4-11A-3. Receipt of settlement funds and required deposit in the West Virginia Tobacco Settlement Fund.
(a) There is hereby created continued in the State Treasury a special revenue account, designated the Tobacco Settlement Fund, which shall be is an interest-bearing account and may be invested in the manner permitted by the provisions of article six, chapter twelve of this code, with the interest income a proper credit to the fund. Unless contrary to federal law, fifty percent of all revenues received pursuant to the master settlement agreement shall be deposited in this fund. These funds shall be are available only upon appropriation by the Legislature as part of the state budget. Provided, That for the fiscal year 2000, the first $5 million received into the fund shall be transferred to the Public Employees Insurance Reserve Fund created in article two, chapter five-a of this code.
(b) Appropriations from the Tobacco Settlement Fund are limited to expenditures for the following purposes:
(1) Reserve funds for continued support of the programs offered by the Public Employees Insurance Agency established in article sixteen, chapter five of this code;
(2) Funding for expansion of the federal-state Medicaid program as authorized by the Legislature or mandated by the federal government;
(3) Funding for public health programs, services and agencies; and
(4) Funding for any state-owned or operated health facilities; and
(5) Five million dollars for the Transition Program for Tobacco Farmers provided in section four-e, article one, chapter nineteen of this code.
(c) Notwithstanding anything in this code to the contrary, on the effective date of the sale of the state’s share to the authority as authorized in this article, the deposits and transfers provided in this section shall cease and are no longer be required.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of section two, article two, chapter twelve of this code, moneys within the Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund may not be redesignated for any purpose other than those set forth in this section.
CHAPTER 19. AGRICULTURE.
ARTICLE 1. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
§19-1-4. Duties of commissioner.
The Commissioner of Agriculture shall perform the following duties:
(a) Devise means of advancing the agricultural interests of the state and, in the performance of such duty, he or she shall have authority to may call upon any state department, or officer of the state or county, to cooperate in promoting the agricultural interests of the state. It shall be is the duty of any such department, or officer, upon request of the commissioner to render the assistance desired;
(b) Promote and encourage the organization of such societies and associations as that have for their object the improvement and development of the state's agricultural, horticultural and kindred interests, especially in production, processing for market and distribution;
(c) Conduct cooperative work with the United States Department of Agriculture in inspecting and determining the grade and condition of farm produce at collecting centers, receiving centers and shipping points;
(d) Induce the investment of capital in, and immigration into, this state by the dissemination of information relative to the soil, climate, health, natural resources, market opportunities and advantages of the state;
(e) Investigate and report upon the kinds, conditions and extent of the mineral products of the state and their value;
(f) Take charge of the museum of the Department of Agriculture, collect, preserve and exhibit therein in the museum specimens of agricultural, horticultural and kindred products, products of the forests, minerals, flora and fauna of the state;
(g) Publish and distribute, from time to time, such reports and bulletins concerning agriculture, horticulture and kindred subjects as may be of value to the farmers of the state and, as conditions may demand, publish a handbook giving the resources of the several counties of the state, the varieties of soil and products, both mineral and vegetable, and the adaptability of the different sections of the state to the different branches of agriculture, horticulture and kindred interests;
(h) Assist farmers to make the transition from growing tobacco to growing other crops or pursuing other agricultural-related businesses through the Transition Program for Farmers provided in section four-e of this article;
(h) (i) Submit a biennial report to the Governor and Legislature containing such information as to the operations of the department as may be helpful to the agricultural interests of the state, together with an itemized statement of all receipts and disbursements during the biennial period covered thereby by the report and giving the name of every person employed during such the period, the time employed and the amount paid each employee;
(i) (j) Perform such other duties and exercise such other powers as are provided in this chapter and by general law; and
(j) (k) Propose rules, including regulatory standards, for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code for the purpose of carrying out the requirements of this chapter.
§19-1-4e. Transition program for tobacco farmers; creation of special revenue account.
(a) The commissioner shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, designed to establish and implement the transition program for tobacco farmers, no later than September 1, 2012. The program’s primary purpose is to assist tobacco farmers in the transition from growing tobacco to growing other crops or pursuing other agricultural related businesses. In addition to the authority granted in section four-a of this article, the commissioner is authorized to accept grants and incur indebtedness to fund the program.
(b) There is created in the State Treasury a special revenue account, designated the “Transition Program for Tobacco Farmers’ Fund.” No later than September 1, 2012, $5 million shall be transferred from the Tobacco Settlement Fund provided under section three, article eleven-a, chapter four of this code to the Transition Program for Tobacco Farmers’ Fund which shall be allocated for use in the program’s initial three-year phase. The Transition Program for Tobacco Farmers’ Fund may also receive grants and loans or other sources of funding as provided under section four-a of this article, at the commissioner’s discretion, and the commissioner shall administer the fund in accordance with the purposes of the Transition Program for Tobacco Farmers’ Fund.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide a system to assist farmers to make the transition from growing tobacco to growing other crops or pursuing other agricultural endeavors. The bill includes provisions which create the “Transition Program for Tobacco Farmers” as well as the “Transition Program for Tobacco Farmers’ Fund.” The bill also provides for use of the Tobacco Settlement Fund for the program.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
§19-1-4e is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.