MADISON – During this week’s Assembly floor sessions the State Assembly approved three bills authored by Representative James Edming (R-Glen Flora). Assembly Bill (AB) 695, reforms two programs that provide assistance to farmers that suffer crop damage or loss caused by wild animals: the wildlife damage abatement program and the wildlife damage claim program. This bill eliminates the current $10,000 cap on damage claims, streamlines administration of these programs under the DNR, and creates an abatement option for farmers operating on leased land among other things.
“This bill is a result of conversations with farmers in the 87th District and around northern Wisconsin about how the wildlife damage programs can work better for them,” said Rep. Edming. “The reforms made by this bill will make a real difference for farmers who are dealing with wildlife damage in our state and I look forward to it continuing its progress through the legislative process.”
Senate Bill (SB) 387, is a fix to the state’s manufacturing and agriculture tax credit. Currently, crop insurance payments are not considered production gross receipts, which are used to calculate the credit, even though these payments are considered taxable income. SB 387 corrects this issue by modifying the definition of production gross receipts to include crop insurance payments.
“This bill is a common-sense fix to our state’s manufacturing and agriculture tax credit,” said Rep. Edming. “With the wet weather we have experienced over the past year the number of crop insurance claims will likely rise. This simple change made by this legislation will allow more farmers to utilize this tax credit and create a fairer playing field for farmers who have experienced a loss due to forces of nature.”
Assembly Bill (AB) 592, creates a new tool for local governments to deal with nuisance beavers and muskrats that are causing damage to a roadway. This bill would give the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or an agent of a local government authorized by DNR the authority to discharge a firearm within the 50-foot buffer zone of the center of a roadway in order to shoot a beaver or muskrat that is causing damage to a roadway.
“The idea for this legislation came from local officials in Rusk County who have been dealing with nuisance beavers causing damage to local roads,” said Rep. Edming. “I am pleased to see this idea from the 87th clear the Assembly.”
AB 695 and AB 592 move on to the State Senate for their consideration and SB 387 now heads to the governor’s desk.