Connecticut Seal

House Bill No. 6771

Public Act No. 05-160

AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEFINITION OF AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 22-4c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2005):

(a) The Commissioner of Agriculture may: (1) Adopt, amend or repeal, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, such standards, criteria and regulations, and such procedural regulations as are necessary and proper to carry out the commissioner's functions, powers and duties; (2) enter into contracts with any person, firm, corporation or association to do all things necessary or convenient to carry out the functions, powers and duties of the department; (3) initiate and receive complaints as to any actual or suspected violation of any statute, regulation, permit or order administered, adopted or issued by the commissioner. The commissioner may hold hearings, administer oaths, take testimony and subpoena witnesses and evidence, enter orders and institute legal proceedings including, but not limited to, suits for injunctions and for the enforcement of any statute, regulation, order or permit administered, adopted or issued by the commissioner; (4) provide an advisory opinion, upon request of any municipality, state agency, tax assessor or any landowner as to what constitutes agriculture or farming pursuant to subsection (q) of section 1-1, or regarding classification of land as farm land or open space land pursuant to sections 12-107b to 12-107f, inclusive; [(4)] (5) in accordance with constitutional limitations, enter at all reasonable times, without liability, upon any public or private property, except a private residence, for the purpose of inspection and investigation to ascertain possible violations of any statute, regulation, order or permit administered, adopted or issued by the commissioner and the owner, managing agent or occupant of any such property shall permit such entry, and no action for trespass shall lie against the commissioner for such entry, or the commissioner may apply to any court having criminal jurisdiction for a warrant to inspect such premises to determine compliance with any statute, regulation, order or permit or methods of manufacture or production ascertained by the commissioner during, or as a result of, any inspection, investigation or hearing; [(5)] (6) undertake any studies, inquiries, surveys or analyses the commissioner may deem relevant, through the personnel of the department or in cooperation with any public or private agency, to accomplish the functions, powers and duties of the commissioner; [(6)] (7) require the posting of sufficient performance bond or other security to assure compliance with any permit or order; [(7)] (8) provide by notice printed on any form that any false statement made thereon or pursuant thereto is punishable as a criminal offense under section 53a-157b; [(8)] (9) by regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, require the payment of a fee sufficient to cover the reasonable cost of acting upon an application for and monitoring compliance with the terms and conditions of any state or federal permit, license, registration, order, certificate or approval. Such costs may include, but are not limited to, the costs of (A) public notice, (B) reviews, inspections and testing incidental to the issuance of and monitoring of compliance with such permits, licenses, orders, certificates and approvals, and (C) surveying and staking boundary lines. The applicant shall pay the fee established in accordance with the provisions of this section prior to the final decision of the commissioner on the application. The commissioner may postpone review of an application until receipt of the payment.

(b) In any hearing held on or after October 1, 1995, on an application for any license issued by the commissioner, (1) the applicant shall pay all costs of recording and transcribing the hearing if a transcript is required by law, and (2) any applicant who requests a copy of a transcript of a hearing for which a transcript is not required by law shall pay to the department any expenses incurred by the department in having such transcript prepared. In any proceeding held on or after October 1, 1995, on a department order to enforce any statute, regulation, permit or order administered or issued by the commissioner, the respondent or other person taking an appeal from a final decision of the commissioner shall pay all costs of recording and transcribing the hearing if a transcript is required by law. Upon a showing of indigency by such respondent or person, the court may require the commissioner to pay such costs.

Approved July 1, 2005