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Substitute Senate Bill No. 632

Public Act No. 08-164

AN ACT CONCERNING ASSISTANCE FOR DAIRY FARMERS.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Commissioner of Agriculture and the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, within available resources and in consultation with the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, shall, not later than January 1, 2009, jointly make recommendations and any proposed legislative changes to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to agriculture, energy and public utilities, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, regarding actions that may be taken to lower agricultural fuel, electricity and other costs of production.  

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Commissioner of Agriculture and the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development shall, not later than January 1, 2009, within available resources, jointly make recommendations and any proposed legislative changes to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to agriculture, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, regarding actions that may be taken to increase Connecticut dairy industry revenues. Such recommendations shall include a detailed analysis of the positive impact the dairy industry has on the overall Connecticut economy.  

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) There is established, within available appropriations, the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board which shall be within the Department of Agriculture.

(b) The board shall consist of nine members: (1) One appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, who shall be a Connecticut licensed dairy producer and a member of a dairy cooperative; (2) one appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, who shall be a Connecticut licensed milk producer and a member of a dairy cooperative; (3) one appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be an independent Connecticut licensed milk producer; (4) one appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, who shall be a Connecticut licensed milk producer and a member of a dairy cooperative; (5) one appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, who shall be a Connecticut licensed milk producer and a member of a dairy cooperative; (6) one appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, who shall be a member of a state-wide health and nutrition organization promoting consumer interests; (7) the Commissioner of Agriculture, or the commissioner's designee; and (8) the chairpersons of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to agriculture, who shall be ex-officio members without the right to vote. The board shall elect a chairperson and a vice-chairperson from among its members.   Any person absent from (A) three consecutive meetings of the commission, or (B) fifty per cent of such meetings during any calendar year shall be deemed to have resigned from the board, effective immediately.   Vacancies on the board shall be filled by the appointing authority.   Members of the board serve without compensation but shall, within the limits of available funds, be reimbursed for expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties. The board shall meet as often as deemed necessary by the chairperson or a majority of the board.

(c) The board shall: (1) Develop, coordinate and implement promotional, research and other programs designed to promote Connecticut dairy farms and milk consumption; and (2) prepare and submit to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to agriculture an annual report concerning its activities.

(d) The board may use such funds as may be available from federal, state or other sources and may enter into contracts to carry out the purposes of this section.

(e) The board may, subject to the provisions of chapter 67 of the general statutes, employ any necessary staff within such available funds or appropriations.  

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective from passage) The Commissioner of Agriculture, not later than October 1, 2008, within available resources, shall work with the United States Department of Agriculture and any other appropriate government agencies to secure certification of the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board.

Approved June 12, 2008