BEFORE THE Department of AGRICULTURE
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 4.5.112 pertaining to the Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council member terms
NOTICE OF AMENDMENT
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On May 9, 2013, the Department of Agriculture published MAR Notice No. 4-14-211 pertaining to the public hearing on the proposed amendment of the above-stated rule at page 737 of the 2013 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 9.
2. A hearing was held May 29, 2013. The department has amended the above-stated rule as proposed.
3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received. A summary of the comments received and the department's responses are as follows:
COMMENT #1: Multiple comments were received expressing concern that term limits should not be removed to allow more people the opportunity to serve on the council.
RESPONSE #1: Finding individuals to serve is a challenge. The time necessary for council members to get fully acquainted with the council's work and to understand and navigate the process effectively is also considered. Additional terms would allow the state to take full advantage of council members' experience and expertise and will provide council consistency and continuity. Council members may provide notice to resign their position at any time.
Certain council positions are difficult to fill due to a small candidate pool such as the biological research and control position. Often there are a small number of individuals within a particular sector willing to commit the time and resources needed. Both the time commitment and the dates associated with the council's work (late February to mid-March) make it difficult. Potential members must balance the conflicts and challenges between serving as a council member and meeting the operational demands of their farms, ranches, and businesses. Certain representatives must be able to provide objective expertise across a spectrum of products or have experience with services as is the case for the herbicide dealer and applicator council position.
COMMENT #2: Three comments supporting the rule as proposed were received.
We are in agreement with the comments that diversity and new perspectives are important. The department has not lost sight of these considerations and will continue to include them when recruiting for new council member candidates. Every two years the director has an opportunity to find new people willing and able to serve. With the removal of term limits, this will be an opportunity for change, not a requirement to remove a qualified member willing to serve.
RESPONSE #2: The department concurs with the comments. For the reasons stated above, the Department of Agriculture plans to adopt two-year council terms with an unlimited number of terms for the Montana Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council.
/s/ Cort Jensen /s/ Ron de Yong
Cort Jensen Ron de Yong
Rule Reviewer Director
Department of Agriculture
Certified to the Secretary of State July 1, 2013