Some bills are starting to move through the committee process that deal with landowner issues.
HB 1038 seeks to repeal the requirement for farm corporations to file annual reports with the Secretary of State. It was brought in by the Secretary of State and passed the House Ag Committee on a unanimous vote. Under current law, corporations and LLCs engaging in farming file two reports. The first report is at the time the entity qualifies as a family farm and files a Farm Qualifications Report.
The annual report asks what land is leased or owned by acres, section, township, and county; how the majority of the voting stock is held; is there a stockholder residing on, actively engaged in farming, has resided on, or has actively engaged in farming; number of shares owned by the person who resides or is actively engaged or if they are relatives, and where they reside; the status of shareholders whether living, estates, or trusts; percentage of gross income from rents, royalties, dividends, interest and annuities; number of shareholders; how many classes of stock; and who owns how many shares, their address, and how they are related.
None of this information is required of any other business.
Two bills brought by the Watershed Task Force were killed by the Senate Ag Committee. One would have set the boundaries for nine river basin natural resource districts in the state. The other set parameters for holding elections for river basin natural resource district governing councils. These bills stemmed out of concerns in the northeastern part of the state about drainage and other water management issues. Right now, these concerns are handled on a county-by-county basis. However, because rivers and streams do not respect political boundaries, there has been a push over the past few years to find a way to address them on a watershed basis.
The task force will continue to meet until January 1, 2019. When it was established, the duties of the task force were to advise the Legislature and river basin districts regarding guidelines for establishing basin-wide water management plans.
The Senate Ag Committee has introduced SB 66 at the request of the Governor, to classify certain agricultural land as riparian buffer strips, to establish the criteria for the riparian buffer strip classification, and to provide for the taxation. The riparian buffer strip would include agricultural land within 120 feet of certain lakes, rivers, and streams. If left in existing or planted perennial vegetation, the land would be assessed at sixty percent of its agricultural income value.
HB 1068 seeks to revise certain provisions concerning landowner liability relative to outdoor recreation or agri-tourism. Under SDCL 20-9-16, a landowner may be liable for injuries resulting from gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct of the owner. HB1068 would remove the words “gross negligence” from the statute.
HJR 1001 would place a proposed constitutional amendment on the next general election that would read: “Hunting, fishing, and trapping wildlife is a valued part of our heritage that shall forever be preserved for the people; water, wildlife, and other natural resources held in the public trust shall be managed by law and regulation for the public good but do not create a right to trespass on private property except as allowed by law, regulation, easement, or contract.”