On Thursday, April 27th, the House Natural Resources Committee passed House Bill 4122 out of Committee at a formal meeting at Chairman Larson’s desk on the House floor. The introduced version of this bill allowed a landowner with 1,000 acres or more and within the jurisdiction of two or more groundwater conservation districts to petition the districts to transfer into one district if the districts agree to the transfer.
After the hearing, in which many landowners testified against the bill, a committee substitute was drafted which significantly altered these provisions– reducing the acreage requirement from 1,000 acres to 100 acres, adding a requirement that 20% of the landowner’s property must be located in the receiving district’s boundaries, and removing the district’s ability to refuse to accept the new territory. This new language was met with significant disagreement, and consequently, at the April 19th Natural Resources Committee hearing, the bill was not brought up for a vote.
As a result, a second committee substitute was drafted that is a significant improvement over the first committee substitute. This newer version, which was passed out of committee on Thursday, April 27th, increases the acreage requirement to 1,000 acres and requires that both districts agree to the transfer. The 20% acreage requirement was removed. Most notably, it adds a requirement that the landowner may only move into the groundwater district with jurisdiction over the portion of the landowner’s property that has the highest appraised value. This additional language was meant to address the concerns of groundwater districts with authority to collect property taxes over a large section of taxable land being removed from their jurisdiction… Read more from TESPA