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309Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: SenateIntroduced Date: 19990114Primary Sponsor: ElliottAll Sponsors: Elliott, McGill, Land, Leatherman, Glover, Rankin, Leventis, MatthewsDrafted Document Number: l:\s-res\de\001fami.jh.docResiding Body: SenateCurrent Committee: Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee 01 SANRSubject: Tobacco litigation settlement funds, Family Farm Relief Fund created to aid farmers; AgricultureHistory Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ ______________________________________ _______ ____________ Senate 19990114 Introduced, read first time, 01 SANR referred to Committee Versions of This Bill
TO AMEND CHAPTER 31, TITLE 46 OF THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO FLUE-CURED TOBACCO, BY ADDING SECTION 46-31-160 SO AS TO REQUIRE THE CREATION OF A SPECIAL FAMILY FARM RELIEF FUND FROM A PORTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA'S SETTLEMENT PROCEEDS DERIVED FROM THE TOBACCO LITIGATION SETTLEMENT TO BE UTILIZED TO EASE THE TRANSITION FOR SMALL FARMERS FROM TOBACCO FARMING TO SOME OTHER FORM OF AGRICULTURAL STAPLE.
Whereas, tobacco is the largest dollar farm-produced crop in South Carolina with production of 101,500,000 pounds; and
Whereas, farms in the South Carolina production area and in the tobacco producing belt of the southeast cannot survive with a drastic change in the tobacco program; and
Whereas, farms in the tobacco belt are historically small because of the income intensity per acre of tobacco; and
Whereas, these small family farms do not own the land acreage to survive on the income from grains, soybeans or other farm commodities without tobacco; and
Whereas, with the loss of the family farm producing tobacco America would also lose the production of other farm commodities on this farm as well; and
Whereas, the loss of farm production would likely increase the cost of food and fiber for every American consumer; and
Whereas, reduction of farm commodities will have a negative impact on our nations international trade balance; and
Whereas, America could ultimately lose adequate food and fiber production from American soil to assure nutrition and clothing for a healthy nation at an affordable price; and
Whereas, many tobacco producers recognize there may be a health-related problem with the use of tobacco products; and
Whereas, the proposed cure of the health-related problem with no financial consideration of the farmers could effectively and eventually put them completely out of business; and
Whereas, the tobacco industry is now negotiating a settlement with the federal government as well as the Attorneys General from several states. Now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 31, Title 46 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 46-31-160. (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the first one-third of any proceeds received by the State pursuant to provisions of the settlement agreement in the tobacco litigation conducted nationally by the Attorneys General of the several states must be utilized to create a special fund to be known as the "Family Farm Relief Fund." No less than one-third of the proceeds shall be credited to the fund from each subsequent settlement allotment received by the State after the fund has been established. All proceeds credited to the fund must be utilized exclusively for the purpose of assisting displaced tobacco farmers in the State and to help in making the transition from tobacco farming to some other form of agricultural staple.
(B) The fund must be administered by the Department of Agriculture pursuant to regulations promulgated by the department.
(C) Application for assistance pursuant to this section must be made in writing to the Department of Agriculture on forms approved by the department. Upon receipt of an application for assistance, the department must conduct an investigation to verify the information contained in the application prior to authorizing any assistance. If the information contained in the application cannot be verified to the satisfaction of the department, the assistance must be denied and the applicant may pursue an appeal pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act with the Administrative Law Judge Division. All petitions for review by the Administrative Law Judge Division must be filed within thirty days of the date the applicant was notified in writing of the reasons for denial of assistance.
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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