7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill modifies provisions related to the Conservation Commission.
10 Highlighted Provisions:
11 This bill:
12 ▸ modifies the membership and duties of the Conservation Commission;
13 ▸ modifies the procedure for making a loan or a grant from the Agriculture Resource
14 Development Fund;
15 ▸ authorizes an advisory board of the Conservation Commission to approve loans
16 from the Agriculture Resource Development Fund;
17 ▸ modifies the duties of a conservation district to include responsibility for planning
18 watershed and flood control projects;
19 ▸ clarifies that a conservation district may not exercise taxing authority; and
20 ▸ makes technical changes.
21 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
23 Other Special Clauses:
25 Utah Code Sections Affected:
27 4-18-102, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2017, Chapter 345
28 4-18-104, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2017, Chapter 345
29 4-18-105, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2017, Chapters 345 and 463
30 4-18-106, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2017, Chapter 345
31 17D-3-103, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapter 360
32 17D-3-105, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 189
34 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
35 Section 1. Section 4-18-102 is amended to read:
36 4-18-102. Purpose declaration.
37 (1) The Legislature finds and declares that:
38 (a) the soil and water resources of this state constitute one of the state's basic assets;
40 (b) the preservation of soil and water resources requires planning and programs to
42 (i) the development and utilization of soil and water resources; and
43 (ii) soil and water resources' protection from the adverse effects of wind and water
44 erosion, sediment, and sediment related pollutants.
45 (2) The Legislature finds that local production of food is essential for:
46 (a) the security of the state's food supply; and
47 (b) the self-sufficiency of the state's citizens.
48 (3) The Legislature finds that sustainable agriculture is critical to:
49 (a) the success of rural communities;
50 (b) the historical culture of the state;
51 (c) maintaining healthy farmland;
52 (d) maintaining high water quality;
53 (e) maintaining abundant wildlife;
54 (f) high-quality recreation for citizens of the state; and
55 (g) helping to stabilize the state economy.
56 (4) The Legislature finds that livestock grazing on public lands is important for the
57 proper management, maintenance, and health of public lands in the state.
58 (5) The Legislature encourages each agricultural producer in the state to operate in a
59 reasonable and responsible manner to maintain the integrity of [
60 (6) The department shall administer the Utah Agriculture Certificate of Environmental
61 Stewardship Program, created in Section 4-18-107, to encourage each agricultural producer in
62 this state to operate in a reasonable and responsible manner to maintain the integrity of the
63 state's resources.
64 Section 2. Section 4-18-104 is amended to read:
65 4-18-104. Conservation Commission created -- Composition -- Appointment --
66 Terms -- Compensation -- Attorney general to provide legal assistance.
67 (1) There is created within the department the Conservation Commission to perform
68 the functions specified in this chapter.
69 (2) The Conservation Commission shall be composed of [
70 (a) 11 voting members, including:
77 executive director's designee;
79 executive director's designee;
83 designee; and
85 commission on a multicounty basis; and
86 (b) the commissioner or the commissioner's designee.
89 (3) If a district supervisor is unable to attend a meeting, the district supervisor may
90 designate an alternate [
91 (4) None of the members described in Subsection (2)(a)(v) or (3) may serve on an
92 association that represents a conservation district.
93 (5) (a) The commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall serve as chair of the
94 Conservation Commission.
95 (b) The commissioner or the commissioner's designee may not vote except in the event
96 of a tie, in which case the commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall cast the deciding
99 (a) be recommended by the commission to the governor; and
100 (b) be appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate.
102 commission members expire, the governor shall appoint each new member or reappointed
103 member to a four-year term.
104 (b) Notwithstanding the requirements of Subsection [
105 the time of appointment or reappointment, adjust the length of terms to ensure that the terms of
106 commission members are staggered so that approximately half of the commission is appointed
107 every two years.
108 (c) A commission member may not be appointed to more than two consecutive terms.
110 shall be appointed for the unexpired term.
113 at a meeting constitutes a quorum.
115 service, but may receive per diem and travel expenses in accordance with:
116 (a) Section 63A-3-106;
117 (b) Section 63A-3-107; and
118 (c) rules made by the Division of Finance pursuant to Sections 63A-3-106 and
123 Section 3. Section 4-18-105 is amended to read:
124 4-18-105. Conservation Commission -- Functions and duties.
125 (1) The commission shall:
126 (a) facilitate the development and implementation of the strategies and programs
127 necessary to:
128 (i) protect, conserve, utilize, and develop the soil, [
129 the state; and
130 (ii) promote the protection, integrity, and restoration of land for agricultural and other
131 beneficial purposes;
132 (b) disseminate information regarding districts' activities and programs;
133 (c) supervise the formation, reorganization, or dissolution of districts according to the
134 requirements of Title 17D, Chapter 3, Conservation District Act;
135 (d) prescribe uniform accounting and recordkeeping procedures for districts and
136 require each district to submit annually [
137 information required in Section 17D-3-103;
138 (e) approve and make loans for agricultural purposes, through the loan advisory [
139 subcommittee described in Section 4-18-106, from the Agriculture Resource Development
147 (f) seek to obtain and administer federal or state funds[
149 from those funds to Ĥ→ [
149a made in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, ←Ĥ
157 (g) seek to coordinate soil and water protection, conservation, and development
158 activities and programs of state agencies, local governmental units, other states, special interest
159 groups, and federal agencies; and
165 Department of Environmental Quality, or when required by contract with the United States
166 Environmental Protection Agency:
167 (i) develop programs for the prevention, control, or abatement of new or existing
168 pollution to the soil, water, or air of the state;
169 (ii) advise, consult, and cooperate with affected parties to further the purpose of this
171 (iii) conduct studies, investigations, research, and demonstrations relating to
172 agricultural pollution issues;
173 (iv) give reasonable consideration in the exercise of its powers and duties to the
174 economic impact on sustainable agriculture;
175 (v) meet the requirements of federal law related to water and air pollution in the
176 exercise of the commission's powers and duties; and
177 (vi) establish administrative penalties relating to agricultural discharges as defined in
178 Section 4-18-103 that are proportional to the seriousness of the resulting environmental harm.
179 (2) The commission may:
180 (a) employ, with the approval of the department, an administrator and necessary
181 technical experts and employees;
182 (b) execute contracts or other instruments necessary to exercise its powers;
183 (c) take necessary action to promote and enforce the purpose and findings of Section
185 (d) sue and be sued; and
186 (e) adopt rules, in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative
187 Rulemaking Act, necessary to carry out the powers and duties described in Subsection (1) and
188 Subsections (2)(b) and (c).
189 Section 4. Section 4-18-106 is amended to read:
190 4-18-106. Agriculture Resource Development Fund -- Contents -- Use of fund
191 money -- Authority board.
192 (1) There is created a revolving loan fund known as the Agriculture Resource
193 Development Fund.
194 (2) The Agriculture Resource Development Fund shall consist of:
195 (a) money appropriated to it by the Legislature;
196 (b) sales and use tax receipts transferred to the fund in accordance with Section
198 (c) money received for the repayment of loans made from the fund;
199 (d) money made available to the state for agriculture resource development from any
200 source; and
201 (e) interest earned on the fund.
202 (3) The commission shall make loans from the Agriculture Resource Development
203 Fund [
204 (a) rangeland improvement and management project;
205 (b) watershed protection or flood prevention project;
206 (c) soil and water conservation project;
207 (d) program designed to promote energy efficient farming practices;
208 (e) improvement program for agriculture product storage or program designed to
209 protect a crop or animal resource; or
210 (f) hydroponic or aquaponic system.
211 (4) The commission may appoint an advisory board that shall:
212 (a) oversee the award process for loans, as described in this section;
213 (b) [
214 (c) recommend policies and procedures for the Agriculture Resource Development
215 Fund that are consistent with statute.
216 (5) The commission may make a grant from the Agriculture Resource Development
217 Fund to an Ĥ→ eligible ←Ĥ entity Ĥ→ , as defined by the department by rule made in
217a accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Adminsitrative Rulemaking Act, ←Ĥ that has the
217b legal right to occupy land for:
218 (a) the development or implementation of a coordinated resource management plan
219 with a conservation district, as defined in Section 17D-3-102; and
220 (b) control or eradication of noxious weeds and invasive plant species in cooperation
221 and coordination with a local weed board.
222 Section 5. Section 17D-3-103 is amended to read:
223 17D-3-103. Conservation district status, authority, and duties.
224 (1) A conservation district created under this chapter:
225 (a) is a body corporate and politic;
226 (b) is a political subdivision of the state; and
227 (c) may sue and be sued.
228 (2) (a) A conservation district may:
229 (i) survey, investigate, and research soil erosion, floodwater, nonpoint source water
230 pollution, flood control, water pollution, sediment damage, and watershed development;
231 (ii) subject to Subsection (2)(b), devise and implement on state or private land a
232 measure to prevent soil erosion, floodwater or sediment damage, nonpoint source water
233 pollution, or other degradation of a watershed or of property affecting a watershed;
234 (iii) subject to Subsection (2)(b), devise and implement a measure to conserve,
235 develop, utilize, or dispose of water on state or private land;
236 (iv) construct, improve, operate, and maintain a structure that the board of supervisors
237 considers necessary or convenient for the conservation district to carry out its purposes under
238 this chapter;
239 (v) acquire property, real or personal, by purchase or otherwise, and maintain, improve,
240 and administer that property consistent with the purposes of this chapter;
241 (vi) enter into a contract in the name of the conservation district;
242 (vii) receive money from:
243 (A) a federal or state agency;
244 (B) a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state; or
245 (C) a private source;
246 (viii) subject to Subsection (2)(c), make recommendations governing land use within
247 the conservation district, including:
248 (A) the observance of particular methods of cultivation;
249 (B) the use of specific crop programs and tillage practices;
250 (C) the avoidance of tilling and cultivating highly erosive areas where erosion may not
251 be adequately controlled if cultivated;
252 (D) the construction of terraces, terrace outlets, check dams, dikes, ponds, or other
253 structures; and
254 (E) the development or restoration, or both, of range or forest lands or other natural
255 resources, whether in private, state, or federal ownership;
256 (ix) plan watershed and flood control projects in cooperation with local, state, and
257 federal authorities, and coordinate flood control projects in the state;
259 the conservation district to consider with respect to land use applications and other
260 development proposals;
262 available funds; and
264 convenient for the efficient and effective administration of the conservation district.
265 (b) A conservation district's authority under Subsections (2)(a)(ii) and (iii) is subject to
266 the consent of:
267 (i) the land occupier; and
268 (ii) in the case of school and institutional trust lands, as defined in Section 53C-1-103,
269 the director of the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, in accordance with
270 Sections 53C-1-102 and 53C-1-303.
271 (c) (i) Each recommendation under Subsection (2)(a)(viii) shall be uniform throughout
272 the conservation district or, if the board of supervisors classifies land under Subsection
273 (2)(c)(ii), throughout each land classification.
274 (ii) The board of supervisors may uniformly classify land within the conservation
275 district with respect to soil type, degree of slope, degree of threatened or existing erosion,
276 cropping and tillage practices in use, or other relevant factors.
277 (3) (a) Each conservation district shall annually submit to the commission, no later
278 than the date that the commission prescribes:
279 (i) a copy of the minutes of each conservation district meeting;
280 (ii) a copy of the conservation district's annual work plan; and
281 (iii) an accounting of the conservation district's financial affairs, as provided in
282 Subsection (3)(b).
283 (b) The accounting required under Subsection (3)(a)(iii) shall:
284 (i) be prepared by a disinterested person; and
285 (ii) show the conservation district's debits and credits, including accounts payable and
286 accounts receivable, the purpose of each debit, the source of each credit, and the actual cash
287 balance on hand.
288 Section 6. Section 17D-3-105 is amended to read:
289 17D-3-105. Conservation districts subject to other provisions.
290 (1) [
291 were a local district, subject to and governed by:
292 (a) Sections 17B-1-105, 17B-1-107, 17B-1-108, 17B-1-110, 17B-1-112, 17B-1-113,
293 17B-1-116, 17B-1-121, 17B-1-307, 17B-1-311, 17B-1-313, and 17B-1-314;
294 (b) Title 17B, Chapter 1, Part 6, Fiscal Procedures for Local Districts;
295 (c) Title 17B, Chapter 1, Part 7, Local District Budgets and Audit Reports;
296 (d) Title 17B, Chapter 1, Part 8, Local District Personnel Management; and
297 (e) Title 17B, Chapter 1, Part 9, Collection of Service Fees and Charges.
298 (2) For purposes of applying the provisions listed in Subsection (1) to a conservation
299 district, each reference in those provisions to the local district board of trustees means the
300 board of supervisors described in Section 17D-3-301.
301 (3) A conservation district may not exercise taxing authority.
Legislative Review Note
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel