Text: S.2741 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (06/15/2000)

 
[Congressional Bills 106th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 2741 Introduced in Senate (IS)]







106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2741

To amend the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987 to extend the authority of 
  the Secretary of Agriculture to provide grants for State mediation 
   programs dealing with agricultural issues, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             June 15, 2000

   Mr. Johnson (for himself, Mr. Conrad, Mr. Harkin, Mr. Dorgan, Mr. 
Roberts, Mr. Levin, Mr. Kerrey, Mr. Grassley, and Mr. Craig) introduced 
the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee 
                on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To amend the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987 to extend the authority of 
  the Secretary of Agriculture to provide grants for State mediation 
   programs dealing with agricultural issues, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. STATE AGRICULTURAL MEDIATION PROGRAMS.

    (a) Eligible Person; Mediation Services.--Section 501 of the 
Agricultural Credit Act of 1987 (7 U.S.C. 5101) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (c), by striking paragraphs (1) and (2) 
        and inserting the following:
            ``(1) Issues covered.--
                    ``(A) In general.--To be certified as a qualifying 
                State, the mediation program of the State must provide 
                mediation services to persons described in paragraph 
                (2) that are involved in agricultural loans (regardless 
                of whether the loans are made or guaranteed by the 
                Secretary or made by a third party).
                    ``(B) Other issues.--The mediation program of a 
                qualifying State may provide mediation services to 
                persons described in paragraph (2) that are involved in 
                1 or more of the following issues under the 
                jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture:
                            ``(i) Wetlands determinations.
                            ``(ii) Compliance with farm programs, 
                        including conservation programs.
                            ``(iii) Agricultural credit.
                            ``(iv) Rural water loan programs.
                            ``(v) Grazing on National Forest System 
                        land.
                            ``(vi) Pesticides.
                            ``(vii) Such other issues as the Secretary 
                        considers appropriate.
            ``(2) Persons eligible for mediation.--The persons referred 
        to in paragraph (1) include--
                    ``(A) agricultural producers;
                    ``(B) creditors of producers (as applicable); and
                    ``(C) persons directly affected by actions of the 
                Department of Agriculture.''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(d) Definition of Mediation Services.--In this section, the term 
`mediation services' may include all activities related to--
            ``(1) the intake and scheduling of cases;
            ``(2) the provision of background and selected information 
        regarding the mediation process;
            ``(3) financial advisory and counseling services (as 
        appropriate); and
            ``(4) the mediation session.''.
    (b) Use of Mediation Grants.--Section 502(c) of the Agricultural 
Credit Act of 1987 (7 U.S.C. 5102(c)) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``Each'' and inserting the following:
            ``(1) In general.--Each''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(2) Operation and administration expenses.--For purposes 
        of paragraph (1), operation and administration expenses for 
        which a grant may be used include--
                    ``(A) salaries;
                    ``(B) reasonable fees and costs of mediators;
                    ``(C) office rent and expenses, such as utilities 
                and equipment rental;
                    ``(D) office supplies;
                    ``(E) administrative costs, such as workers' 
                compensation, liability insurance, the employer's share 
                of Social Security, and necessary travel;
                    ``(F) education and training;
                    ``(G) security systems necessary to ensure the 
                confidentiality of mediation sessions and records of 
                mediation sessions;
                    ``(H) costs associated with publicity and promotion 
                of the mediation program;
                    ``(I) preparation of the parties for mediation; and
                    ``(J) financial advisory and counseling services 
                for parties requesting mediation.''.
    (c) Duties of the Secretary of Agriculture.--Section 503(a)(1) of 
the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987 (7 U.S.C. 5103(a)(1)) is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``and'' after the 
        semicolon at the end;
            (2) in subparagraph (C), by striking the period at the end 
        and inserting ``; and''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(D) shall implement procedures to ensure the 
                confidentiality of any State mediation program 
                certified under section 501 (including any related 
                communications and records) in accordance with section 
                574 of title 5, United States Code.''.
    (d) Authorization of Appropriations.--Section 506 of the 
Agricultural Credit Act of 1987 (7 U.S.C. 5106) is amended by striking 
``for each of the fiscal years 1998 through 2000'' and inserting ``for 
each fiscal year''.
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