Bill Text: TX HB1266 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the administration of seed and plant certification in this state by the State Seed and Plant Certification Council and the Texas Crop Improvement Association.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-03-04 - Referred to Agriculture & Livestock [HB1266 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-HB1266-Introduced.html
  87R720 BEF-F
 
  By: Kacal H.B. No. 1266
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the administration of seed and plant certification in
  this state by the State Seed and Plant Certification Council and the
  Texas Crop Improvement Association.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 61.007, Agriculture Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (c) to read as follows:
         (c)  A person may not:
               (1)  sell or offer for sale in this state seed or plants
  with labeling or packaging accompanying the seed or plants using
  the terms "certified seed," "from officially inspected fields,"
  "state crop improvement agency inspected," "approved seed,"
  "approved plants," "approved sods," "approved trees," "inspected
  fields," "foundation seed," "certified plants," or terms having the
  same meaning, unless the seed or plants have been certified by a
  seed certifying agency as Foundation, Registered, or Certified seed
  or plants;
               (2)  represent the person to be a registered plant
  breeder or approved producer of Foundation, Registered, or
  Certified seed or plants unless the person has been registered or
  approved by a seed certifying agency;
               (3)  sell or offer for sale in this state Foundation,
  Registered, or Certified seed or plants that are not in compliance
  with applicable laws or standards adopted by a seed certifying
  agency; or
               (4)  sell or offer for sale seed or plants represented
  to be certified in explicit oral or written statements or by
  misleading oral or written statements if the seed or plants have not
  been certified or have not been certified as being of the class of
  which they are represented by a seed certifying agency.
         SECTION 2.  Section 62.001, Agriculture Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 62.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Association" means the seed certifying agency
  authorized under Section 62.008(a) to certify seed and plants in
  this state ["Board" means the State Seed and Plant Board].
               (2)  "Certified [The term "certified] seed" or
  "certified plant" means a seed or plant that has been determined by
  a seed or plant certifying agency to meet agency rules and standards
  as to genetic purity and identity.
               (3)  "Council" means the State Seed and Plant
  Certification Council.
               (4)  "Plant" includes plant parts.
         SECTION 3.  Section 62.002, Agriculture Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 62.002.  STATE SEED AND PLANT CERTIFICATION COUNCIL
  [BOARD]. (a) The State Seed and Plant Certification Council [Board
  is an agency of the state. The board] is composed of:
               (1)  one individual, appointed by The [the president
  of] Texas A&M University System vice chancellor for agriculture,
  from the Department of Soil [Soils] and Crop Sciences [Department,
  Texas Agricultural Experiment Station], Texas A&M University;
               (2)  one individual, appointed by the dean of the
  College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, [president
  of] Texas Tech University, from the Department of Plant and Soil
  Science [Sciences, Texas Tech University];
               (3)  one individual, elected [appointed] by the members
  of the association [commissioner], approved by the council
  [licensed] as a Texas Foundation, Registered, or Certified seed or
  plant producer who is not employed by a public institution;
               (4)  one individual, elected [appointed] by the members
  of the association [commissioner], who sells Texas Foundation,
  Registered, or Certified seed or plants;
               (5)  one individual, elected [appointed] by the members
  of the association [commissioner], actively engaged in farming but
  not a producer or seller of Texas Foundation, Registered, or
  Certified seed or plants; and
               (6)  the head of the association [seed division of the
  department].
         (b)  The members described by Subsections (a)(1), (2), and
  (6) serve [An individual appointed from a state university or the
  department serves] on the council [board] as [an] ex officio
  members [member]. A member serves for a term of two years and until
  a successor has qualified. Members serve without compensation but
  are entitled to reimbursement by the association [state] for actual
  expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
         (c)  A member whose employment is terminated with the
  association or the university [agency or department] from which the
  member was appointed or who ceases to be engaged in the business or
  professional activity that the member was elected [appointed] to
  represent vacates membership on the council [board].
         (d)  The council shall elect [commissioner shall designate]
  a member of the council [board] as the chair [chairman] to serve in
  that capacity at the pleasure of the council [commissioner]. The
  council [board] annually shall elect a vice chair [vice-chairman]
  and secretary. The council [board] shall meet at times and places
  determined by the chair [chairman].
         [(e)  Appointments to the board shall be made without regard
  to the race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national
  origin of the appointees.]
         SECTION 4.  Sections 62.004(a) and (b), Agriculture Code,
  are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The council [board] may establish, not inconsistent
  with federal law, the eligibility of various kinds and varieties of
  seed and plants for genetic purity and identity certification and
  the procedures for that certification.
         (b)  The council [board] may establish standards of genetic
  purity and identity, not inconsistent with federal law, for classes
  of certified seed and plants for which the council [board]
  determines that standards are desirable. In establishing the
  standards, the council [board] may consider all factors affecting
  the quality of seed and plants.
         SECTION 5.  Section 62.005, Agriculture Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 62.005.  APPROVAL [LICENSING] OF PRODUCERS OF
  FOUNDATION, REGISTERED, OR CERTIFIED SEED. (a) A person who wants
  to produce a certified class of seed or plant for which the council
  [board] has established standards of genetic purity and identity
  may apply to the council for approval [board for licensing] as a
  Foundation, Registered, or Certified producer of seed or plants.
  To be approved [licensed] as a producer, a person must satisfy the
  council [board] that:
               (1)  the person [he or she] is of good character and has
  a reputation for honesty;
               (2)  the person's [his or her] facilities meet council
  [board] requirements for producing and maintaining seed or plants
  for the certification generations desired; and
               (3)  the person [he or she] has met any other council
  [board] requirements as to knowledge of the production or
  maintenance of seed or plants for the certification generations the
  person wishes to produce [for which he or she applies to be
  licensed].
         (b)  The council [board] may adopt standards [rules]
  governing the production and handling by approved [licensed]
  producers of certified classes of seed and plants to ensure the
  maintenance of genetic purity and identity.
         (c)  Approval [A license] to produce Foundation, Registered,
  or Certified seed or plants is not transferable and is permanent
  unless revoked by the council as a result of a violation of
  applicable law or standards governing the production and handling
  of seed or plants [as provided in this chapter]. A person approved
  [licensed] as a producer of Foundation, Registered, or Certified
  seed or plants is eligible to produce certified seed or plants, as
  applicable [provided in the license], of the class the person is
  approved to produce [for which he or she is licensed] or of any
  lower class of certified seed or plants, as determined by the
  council [board].
         (d)  An application for approval [licensing] as a
  Foundation, Registered, or Certified producer of seed or plants
  must be accompanied by a fee, as determined by the council [provided
  by department rule].
         SECTION 6.  Section 62.006, Agriculture Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 62.006.  REGISTRATION OF PLANT BREEDERS. (a) A person
  engaging in the development, maintenance, or production of seed or
  plants for which standards of genetic purity and identity have been
  established by the council [board] may apply to the council [board]
  for registration as a plant breeder. The applicant shall apply on
  forms prescribed by the council [board] and shall include with the
  application a registration fee, as determined by the council
  [board]. To be registered as a plant breeder, a person must satisfy
  the council [board] that the person is skilled in the science of
  plant breeding. The council [board] may require skill to be shown
  by evidence of accomplishments in the field and may require an oral
  or written examination in the subject.
         (b)  A certificate of registration is not transferable and is
  permanent unless revoked by the council as a result of a violation
  of applicable law or standards governing the production and
  handling of seed or plants [as provided in this chapter].
         SECTION 7.  Section 62.008, Agriculture Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 62.008.  CERTIFICATION OF SEED AND PLANTS. (a) The
  Texas Crop Improvement Association is the seed certifying agency
  authorized to officially certify seed and plants in this state. The
  association shall comply with standards and procedures established
  by the council in accordance with the Federal Seed Act (7 U.S.C.
  Section 1551 et seq.) to assure the genetic purity and identity of
  the seed and plants certified [department is the certifying agency
  in Texas for the certification of seed and plants].
         (a-1)  The association shall perform seed and plant
  certification work on a financially self-supporting basis.
         (a-2)  The association [department] shall employ a
  sufficient number of inspectors to carry out the inspection
  provisions of this chapter. Inspectors must meet qualifications
  set by the council [board].
         (b)  A person who is approved by the council [licensed] as a
  Foundation, Registered, or Certified seed or plant producer or who
  is registered as a plant breeder is eligible to have seed or plants
  of an eligible class and variety certified by the association
  [department]. On request by an approved [a licensed] producer or a
  registered plant breeder to have seed or plants certified, the
  association [department] shall inspect the producer's or
  registrant's fields, facilities, and seed or plants. Inspection
  may include tests approved by the council [board] and carried out by
  inspectors under the authority of the association [department].
         (c)  After inspection, if the association [department]
  determines that the production of seed or plants has met the
  standards and requirements [rules] prescribed by the council
  [board], it shall cause to be attached to each container of the
  product a label identifying the seed or plant and the certified
  class and including other information required by law or by the
  council [statute or by rule of the board]. The council [department]
  shall prescribe the format of the label.
         (d)  The association [department] shall fix and collect a fee
  for the issuance of a certification label in an amount necessary to
  cover the costs of inspection and labels.
         SECTION 8.  Section 62.009, Agriculture Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 62.009.  SEED AND PLANTS FROM OUTSIDE THE STATE. (a)
  The council [department] may adopt requirements [rules], including
  testing [requirements] and standards, which must be met before seed
  or plants represented to be of a certified class may be shipped into
  the state for distribution in the state. The requirements [rules]
  adopted shall be designed to ensure buyers in the state of having
  available certified seed and plants of known origin, genetic
  purity, and identity and shall correspond to appropriate standards
  [rules] used in certifying seed and plants produced in Texas.
         (b)  The council [department] may require inspections by the
  association of seed and plants represented to be of a certified
  class and shipped into the state for distribution in the state. The
  association [and] may collect fees to cover costs of inspection, as
  determined by the council [department]. The council [department]
  may require inspection fee payment before distribution in the
  state.
         (c)  A person may not distribute in this state seed or plants
  represented to be of a certified class and shipped into the state
  for distribution in the state, unless the person has first complied
  with any requirements [rules], including testing [requirements],
  adopted by the council [department] for seed or plants shipped into
  the state.
         (d)  A person may not sell or offer for sale in this state
  seed or plants represented to be of a certified class and shipped
  into the state for distribution in the state, unless the seed or
  plants have been certified by an official certifying agency in the
  state, province, or country of origin or have been certified by the
  association [department].
         (e)  Seed or plants shipped into the state for distribution
  in the state which are represented to be of a certified class and
  which are found by the association [department] after investigation
  to violate the requirements of this section are restricted from
  distribution[. In addition, the department may order the seed or
  plants in violation confiscated and retained under general
  supervision of the department. An owner or consignee of restricted
  or confiscated seed or plants may appeal the order by filing an
  appeal within 10 days of the order. Appeal is in the county court of
  the county where the seed or plants are restricted or were
  confiscated. The appeal in county court is by trial de novo. If no
  appeal is filed as provided in this section or if after an appeal in
  county court, the department's action is not reversed, the
  department may destroy confiscated seed or plants].
         (f)  The council may recognize a certification issued by a
  seed certifying agency in:
               (1)  another state or territory of the United States;
  or
               (2)  a country, province, or territory not under the
  jurisdiction of the United States government.
         SECTION 9.  Chapter 62, Agriculture Code, is amended by
  adding Section 62.0095 to read as follows:
         Sec. 62.0095.  COOPERATION WITH GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES. The
  council or association may request the department or the United
  States Department of Agriculture to investigate or aid in the
  investigation of any violation of this chapter.
         SECTION 10.  Sections 64.005(a) and (b), Agriculture Code,
  are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The State Seed and Plant Certification Council [Board],
  as constituted under Section 62.002 [of this code], is the board of
  arbitration for complaints filed under this chapter.
         (b)  As a board of arbitration, the State Seed and Plant
  Certification Council [Board] shall conduct arbitration as
  provided by this chapter. The arbitration board may be called into
  session by the Texas Crop Improvement Association [commissioner] or
  the chair [chairman] of the State Seed and Plant Certification
  Council [Board] to consider matters referred to the arbitration
  board by the association [commissioner] or the chair [chairman].
         SECTION 11.  Section 64.006(f), Agriculture Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (f)  In the course of its investigation, the arbitration
  board or any of its members may:
               (1)  examine the purchaser and the seller on all
  matters that the arbitration board considers relevant;
               (2)  grow to production a representative sample of the
  seed through the facilities of the Texas Crop Improvement
  Association [commissioner] or a designated university under the
  association's [commissioner's] supervision; or
               (3)  hold informal hearings at the time and place the
  chair [chairman] of the State Seed and Plant Certification Council
  [Board] directs, with reasonable notice to all parties.
         SECTION 12.  The following provisions of the Agriculture
  Code are repealed:
               (1)  Section 62.0021;
               (2)  Section 62.0022;
               (3)  Section 62.0023;
               (4)  Section 62.0024;
               (5)  Section 62.0025;
               (6)  Section 62.0026;
               (7)  Section 62.0027;
               (8)  Section 62.004(c);
               (9)  Section 62.0065;
               (10)  Section 62.010;
               (11)  Section 62.011; and
               (12)  Section 64.005(c).
         SECTION 13.  On the effective date of this Act:
               (1)  the State Seed and Plant Board is abolished;
               (2)  the State Seed and Plant Certification Council and
  the Texas Crop Improvement Association shall assume the powers and
  duties assigned by Chapters 62 and 64, Agriculture Code, as amended
  by this Act; and
               (3)  the Department of Agriculture and the former State
  Seed and Plant Board shall transfer all records of the department's
  and board's activities under Chapters 62 and 64, Agriculture Code,
  to the State Seed and Plant Certification Council and the Texas Crop
  Improvement Association.
         SECTION 14.  Except for the addition by this Act of Section
  61.007(c), Agriculture Code, the changes in law made by this Act may
  not be construed to affect Chapter 61, Agriculture Code.
         SECTION 15.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only
  to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act.
  An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is
  governed by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and
  the former law is continued in effect for that purpose. For
  purposes of this section, an offense was committed before the
  effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurred
  before that date.
         SECTION 16.  This Act takes effect January 1, 2022.
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