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CBC5726FD79729E887258368007E7A9A Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP CONCERNING CONSERVATION EASEMENTS

JOINT COMMITTEE COMMITTEE ON JOINT AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Date Dec 19, 2018      
Location Old State Library



Report of the Working Group Concerning Conservation Easements - Committee Discussion Only

04:01:35 PM  
Mark Weston, Director, Division of Conservation within the
Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), introduced himself to the committee
and made opening comments regarding the Working Group Report, as required
by House Bill 18-1291.  Mr. Weston distributed a copy of the report
[Attachment C].  The bill created the Division of Conservation (division)
and directed the division to convene a working group in conjunction with
the Department of Law, Department of Revenue, and DORA to develop statutory
and regulatory recommendations that do not conflict with federal law for
several processes regarding conservation easements. The working group is
recommending four main recommendations: an alternate method to the current
appraisal process for conservation easements; a process to petition a court
of competent jurisdiction to extinguish a conservation easement; a process
to provide retroactive tax credits to taxpayers who claimed tax credits
between and whose tax credits were denied in whole or in part; and the
development of a written form to warn landowners who have conservation
easements of the legal considerations of terminating an easement.
04:09:31 PM  

Mr. Weston responded to questions from the committee, and committee discussion ensued. Mr. Weston discussed the recommendations made by the working group and discussed how the working group gathered input from the public. Mr. Weston stated that the working group sent out over 300 surveys to different entities and received 54 responses. Mr. Weston also discussed the stakeholder meeting, which took place in October of 2018.

04:32:08 PM  
The following persons testified on the working group report:
04:33:17 PM  

Jillane Hixson, representing herself, testified before the committee. She distributed information relating to her testimony to the committee [Attachment D] and two letters from the IRS regarding her conservation easement [Attachment E]. Ms. Hixson responded to questions from the committee.

04:59:54 PM  
Julia Gentz, representing herself, testified before the committee regarding her experience with conservation easements. Ms. Gentz discussed her recommendations for the conservation program. Ms. Gentz responded to questions from the committee.
05:08:58 PM  
Alan Gentz, representing himself, testified before the committee regarding his experience with conservation easements. Mr. Gentz responded to questions from the committee regarding the appraisal process for his conservation easement.
05:27:28 PM  
Senator Sonnenberg and other committee members made concluding comments regarding the conservation easement program and the working group report.
05:36:24 PM  

Representative Lewis moved to reject the Working Group Report.

05:37:18 PM  

The committee recessed.

05:40:56 PM  

The committee came back to order.

05:41:05 PM  

Senator Sonnenberg ruled that the joint committee does not have the authority to take action on any item under the SMART Government Act statute.  Representative Lewis's objection to the report is noted.






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