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S_AGR_2018A 12/19/2018 10:32:57 AM Committee Summary

PUBLIC
STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
JOINT COMMITTEE COMMITTEE ON JOINT AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Date 12/19/2018
Attendance
Baumgardner E
Becker J. E
Buck X
Catlin X
Cooke X
Coram X
Danielson E
Donovan X
Esgar E
Fenberg E
Fields E
Garcia E
Hansen E
Jackson E
Jones X
Lewis X
Marble E
McKean X
Roberts X
Saine X
Scott X
Valdez X
Arndt X
Sonnenberg X
Time 10:32:57 AM to 05:45:24 PM
Place Old State Library
This Meeting was called to order by Sonnenberg
This Report was prepared by Meghan MacKillop
Hearing Items Action Taken
Annual Report on Outstanding Audit Recommendations Committee Discussion Only
Department of Agriculture SMART Act Presentation Committee Discussion Only
Department of Natural Resources SMART Act Presentation Committee Discussion Only
Report of the Working Group Concerning Conservation Easements Committee Discussion Only

Annual Report on Outstanding Audit Recommendations - Committee Discussion Only


10:35:10 AM  

Kerri Hunter, Deputy State Auditor, Office of the State Auditor (OSA), introduced herself to the committee and discussed the auditing process.

10:37:45 AM  
Crystal Dorsey, Audit Manager (OSA), presented the OSA annual
report on unimplemented audit recommendations, which can be found here:
http://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/audits/1811s_status_of_outstanding_recommendations_report__0.pdf.
 Ms. Dorsey discussed unimplemented recommendations for the Colorado
State Fair.
10:44:00 AM  
Ms. Hunter responded to questions from the committee regarding
the financial stability of the state fair and the process of monitoring
audits.  Ms. Hunter also discussed the Legislative Audit Committee
and the process by which members can request audits of agencies and programs.



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.



Department of Agriculture SMART Act Presentation - Committee Discussion Only


10:51:11 AM  
Commissioner Don Brown, Department of Agriculture, introduced
himself to the committee and provided an overview of the department.  The
department's regulatory agenda and performance plan can be accessed through
the committee's website here:
http://leg.colorado.gov/node/1220431/.
 Commissioner Brown also distributed a copy of his presentation [Attachment
A].
11:04:57 AM  
Commissioner Brown discussed the department's new laboratory
facilities located in the department campus in Broomfield.  The relocation
of the laboratories will complete the department office consolidation project
that began in 2014.  He also discussed the Agriculture Workforce Development
Program, created by Senate Bill 18-042, and the Federal Lands Program.
 The commissioner talked about the increase in members of the Colorado
Proud Program, as well as a new branding for the program.
11:13:13 AM  
Commissioner Brown discussed the current state of Colorado's
food and agricultural industry and stated that there has been a steady
decline in Colorado net farm income.  He emphasized the increase in
the cost of producing and a decrease in working capital nationally.  He
provided a summary of imports from the state and specifically discussed
the decrease of soybean exports nationally.  He also discussed the
decline of commodity prices in recent years.  The commissioner highlighted
state industries with an increase in productivity.  He also discussed
the Colorado Industrial Hemp Program and distributed a summary of the program
[Attachment B].  He explained that the General Assembly will need
to pass legislation to stop a repeal of the program due to the recent changes
in federal law regarding industrial hemp.
11:24:38 AM  
Tom Lipetzky, Director of the Markets Division
CDA, introduced himself to the committee and provided an update of the
department's performance plan.  He explained the department's mission
and priorities for the upcoming year.  
11:34:27 AM  
Joy Moore, Chief Financial Officer, introduced herself to the committee and discussed the department's FY 2019-20 budget request. She discussed a budget request to manage and distribute biological control agents as a form of pest control. She also discussed a request to increase international marketing efforts aimed at helping Colorado food and agricultural suppliers develop new markets.
11:38:00 AM  
Ms. Moore responded to questions from the
committee regarding federal funding for pest control and the use of rust
to eliminate Canadian Thistle.
11:39:17 AM  
Commissioner Brown discussed the department's
legislative agenda.   Legislative priorities include incorporating
the Food Safety Modernization Act into state statute and expanding the
authority of the Groundwater Protection program to include the monitoring
and testing of surface water.  He also discussed upcoming Sunset Reviews,
including the Seed Potato Act, Public Livestock Markets, and the Pet Animal
Care Facility Act.  
11:45:44 AM  
Karen Lover, Executive Assistant, discussed rulemaking activities that occurred in 2018.
11:46:19 AM  
Mr. Lipetzsky responded to questions from
the committee regarding the Colorado Proud Program.  Commissioner
Brown responded to questions regarding federal changes to laws concerning
industrial hemp.  Mr. Lipetzky responded to questions from the committee
concerning the engagement of a younger demographic in the agriculture industry.
11:58:17 AM  
Commissioner Brown responded to questions from the committee regarding the mental health crisis in the agriculture industry.
11:58:18 AM  
The committee recessed.



Department of Natural Resources SMART Act Presentation - Committee Discussion Only


12:04:06 PM  
The committee came back to order.
01:30:33 PM  

Bob Randall, Executive Director, Department of Natural Resources, introduced himself to the committee and provided an overview of the department. The department's FY 2018-19 Performance Plan and regulatory agenda can be accessed thought the committee's website here:http://leg.colorado.gov/node/1220431/.

01:34:15 PM  
Tobin Follenweider, Chief Operations Officer,
introduced himself to the committee and discussed the department's performance
plan.  He discussed some outside factors that shape DNR's performance,
including population growth and revenue from oil and gas development.
01:39:24 PM  

Bill Levine, Budget Director, introduced himself to the committee and discussed his role as the budget director. He discussed severance tax funding, specifically House Bill 18-1338, which helps to restore funding to the Severance Tax Operational Fund.  He discussed potential future legislation concerning severance tax, a bill recommended by the Water Resources Review Committee that will seek to change the timing and budgeting of severance tax revenue to several grant programs administered by DNR.

01:46:00 PM  
Bob Broscheid, Director, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW),
provided an overview of CPW.  He discussed the sources of funding
for CPW, which primarily consist of license, permit, and pass purchases.
 He provided an update of the department's efforts to restore the
Greenback Cutthroat Trout population.  He also updated the committee
on the Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) program.  Mr. Broscheid stated
that more boats from Lake Tahoe are entering the state contaminated with
quagga and zebra mussels.  He discussed the number of state park visitations
and hunting and fishing license sales.  Mr. Broscheid responded to
questions from the committee regarding park visitation and the recent fee
increases, which go into effect on January 1, 2019.  Mr. Levine discussed
increased costs of maintaining state parks.
.
02:10:13 PM  

Mr. Broscheid responded to further questions from the committee regarding land purchases made by CPW.  Mr. Follenwieder responded to questions from the committee regarding how targets for certain performance metrics are determined.

02:19:43 PM  
Mike Leonard, Acting Director, Colorado
Oil and Gas Conservatoin Commission (COGCC), introduced himself to the
committee and provided an overview of the COGCC.   The COGCC is responsible
for the permitting, monitoring, enforcement, and restoration efforts of
the oil and gas industry.  It is funded primarily through severance
tax revenue and a levy assessed on the value of oil and gas production.
 The COGCC also receives a small federal grant related to the regulation
of underground injection wells, as well as penalty revenue that must be
used to fund specific program expenses.  Mr. Leonard responded to
questions from the committee regarding the comment period for pending applications
and permits, department response time to complaints, and number of inspections
of wells.
02:50:35 PM  

Rebecca Mitchell, Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), provided an overview of the CWCB. Ms. Mitchell discussed the department's primary functions and major funding sources. CWCB is primarily funded though the CWCB Construction Fund, Federal Mineral Lease distributions, and severance tax revenue. Ms. Mitchell provided the committee an update on the drought contingency plan efforts in Colorado and throughout the Colorado River Basin. The Upper Basin states have approved a drought contingency plan; however, the Lower Basin States have yet to approve a plan.  The Lower Basin States must approve a plan by January 2019.

02:51:48 PM  
John Stulp, Special Water Policy Advisor
to the Governor, introduced himself to the committee and updated the committee
on ongoing water projects in the state.
03:16:43 PM  

Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Stulp responded to questions from the committee concerning drought contingency planning. Ms. Mitchell continued to respond to questions regarding water plan implementation, demand side management, and voluntary curtailment programs.

03:48:54 PM  

Bill Ryan, Director, Colorado State Land Board, provided an overview of the committee. Mr. Ryan discussed the land board's main responsibilities and major sources of funding. The SLB is entirely self-funded by revenue generated from leasing state trust land. Mr. Ryan responded to questions from the committee regarding school parcel leases, agricultural leases, and stacked leases.


05:45:24 PM   Committee Adjourned






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