Shankland’s clean water bill clears both houses, heads to governor’s desk

By Metro Wire Staff

Assembly Bill 727 is heading to Gov. Tony Ever’s desk.

The bill, authored by Rep. Katrina Shankland, passed the State Assembly unanimously by the State Assembly in February 2021, and the State Senate earlier this week.

The legislation aims to protect drinking water and groundwater by creating a nitrogen optimization pilot program to help farmers reduce nitrogen loading and leaching by initiating a cover crop insurance rebate program to help farmers utilize cover crops to improve soil health.

The bill also created a new state hydrogeologist position to help local governments find and address local hotspots of contamination.

Shankland, who is also vice-chair of the 2019-20 Task Force on Water Quality, said she was “thrilled” with the progress.

“Last session, I co-chaired the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality and helped draft legislation to address our state’s water quality issues, and we took several steps forward by passing our 10 bipartisan proposals, including the provisions contained within this bill, unanimously through the State Assembly. While they never made it through the Senate due to the onset of the pandemic, I was glad to reintroduce this bill with my colleagues across the aisle this session,” Shankland said in a press release.

“This legislation will provide much-needed support for farmers in taking preventative measures that protect our drinking water, as well as helping local governments find and address contamination where it occurs. Everyone deserves clean drinking water —and I’ll keep saying so and backing up my words with legislative action. Today is a great day for clean water.”