Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Section 18 of chapter 21 of the General Laws, as amended by section 68 of chapter 706 of the acts of 1975, is hereby further amended by adding the following three sentences:- The director shall also appoint, with the approval of the secretary, an executive secretary. The appointment and removal of said executive secretary shall not be subject to the provisions of section nine A of chapter thirty or chapter thirty-one. The director may request from the state commission, established under the provisions of section nineteen, a list of no more than three candidates for such position.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 21 is hereby further amended by striking out section 19 of said chapter 21, as most recently amended by section 70 of said chapter 706, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 19. There shall be in the division a commission for conservation of soil, water and related resources, hereinafter called the state commission. Said commission shall consist of thirteen voting members. The thirteen voting members shall include four ex-officio and nine appointed members. The ex-officio members shall be the commissioners of the departments of food and agriculture, environmental quality engineering, environmental management, and fisheries, wildlife and recreational vehicles or their designees. The nine appointed members shall be appointed by said ex-officio members as follows:- the chairman or his designee of each of the six divisions of conservation districts, established by section twenty, one from a list of two names submitted by the executive committee of the State Grange, one from a list of two names submitted by the executive committee of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, and one from a list of two names submitted by the executive committee of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions. The state conservationist of the United States Soil Conservation Service, the state executive director of Agriculture Stabilization for Conservation Service and the dean of the college of food and natural resources at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst shall offer their technical expertise to the commission from time to time as advisory members. Appointed members shall serve for terms of four years, except that the nine members of the state commission initially appointed shall be appointed for terms of one, two, three and four years, respectively, as the members ex-officio may designate and until qualification of their successors. Each appointed member of the state commission shall receive, subject to appropriation, fifty dollars for each day for his services. The state commission shall hold regular meetings on the second Thursday in the months of January, April, July, October, and in addition shall hold meetings at the call of the chairman or on the request of any seven members. The state commission shall annually elect a chairman who is not an ex-officio member and a secretary from among the voting members of the commission. A majority of the voting members of the state commission shall constitute a quorum, and the concurrence of a majority in a matter within their duties shall be required for its determination.
Appointed members may be removed by the state commission after notice in writing that said member has failed to attend at least three regular meetings in any one year. Vacancies on the commission shall be filled as provided for in this section.
SECTION 3. Said chapter 21 is hereby further amended by striking out section 20, as appearing in section 3 of chapter 664 of the acts of 1963, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 20. The state commission, unless otherwise specified, shall have the following powers and duties:-
(1) To encourage and assist educational work in the conservation and development of renewable natural resources, including soil, water, plant life, woodland, fish and wildlife, and recreation resources, the control and prevention of erosion, floodwater and sediment damages, and the conservation, development, utilization and disposal of water, through co-operation with all federal, state, county, local, public and private resource agencies.
(2) To advise the director in developing policies of the division of conservation services relating to the operation of conservation districts and to carry out policies and programs affecting conservation districts.
(3) To perform the functions hereinafter provided for, relating to the establishment, change of boundaries, or dissolution of conservation districts.
(4) To secure the co-operation and assistance of agencies of the United States, the commonwealth and its political subdivisions in promoting the organization and operation of conservation districts.
(5) To disseminate information concerning the activities and programs of conservation districts.
(6) To allot money appropriated for establishing and maintaining conservation districts and conservation district divisions and for the operation of their projects and programs.
(7) To develop annual budgets for the operation and maintenance of conservation districts, conservation district divisions, and the state commission for submission to the director.
(8) To establish program priorities and advise conservation districts and divisions on those programs which contribute to the conservation and best use of the natural resources of the commonwealth.
(9) To develop a natural resource plan for the commonwealth every five years commencing in January, nineteen hundred and eighty-five.
(10) To accept contributions, gifts or grants of money or property, whether real or personal, from any source, private or public, including but not limited to, the United States or its agencies, in order to promote the purpose of this chapter.
(11) To establish, with the approval of the majority of the chairmen of the conservation districts, six conservation district divisions. In establishing said divisions, the state commission may include one or more conservation districts.
(12) To encourage educational activities which promote the conservation and development of renewable natural resources, including soil, water, plant life, woodland, fish, wildlife, recreation resources, prevention of soil erosion, floodwater and sediment damages and the conservation, development, utilization and disposal of water through cooperation with appropriate federal, state, county, public and private agencies.
(13) To set fees for pamphlets, publications or services which shall not exceed the cost of providing such pamphlets, publications or services and to promote uniform fees set by district supervisors.
SECTION 4. Section 21 of said chapter 21, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 1, 4 and 5, 8, 12, 18 and 19, 21, 26, the word "committee" and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the word:- commission. SECTION 5. Said chapter 21 is hereby further amended by striking out section 22, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 22. Within sixty days after the state commission has established a conservation district it shall appoint a board of no less than five no more than seven district supervisors who shall be individual land occupiers residing on or owning land within the district. Supervisors originally appointed hereunder shall serve for terms of one, two, and three years, respectively. Successors shall serve for terms of three years. Successors for full terms of three years shall be elected or removed for cause by the land occupiers in the district. The state commission shall give public notice of each such election by publication in a newspaper published in the district or having a general circulation therein at least ten days prior thereto. The state commission shall prescribe regulations for the conduct of such elections, which elections shall be conducted by the chairman of the state commission or his designated representative. The person receiving the highest number of votes for any office to be filled at such election shall be declared elected. All supervisors shall serve until the qualification of their respective successors. Vacancies shall be filled by the state commission for the unexpired term. District supervisors shall be paid at a rate established by the director, with the concurrence of the state commission for each day of actual service rendered and their necessary traveling and other expenses, subject to appropriation.
SECTION 6. Section 23 of said chapter 21, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 6, the word "committee" and inserting in place thereof the word:- commission.
SECTION 7. Paragraph (9) of section 24 of said chapter 21, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "may", in line 4, the words:- establish reasonable fees with the approval of the commission, and may.
SECTION 8. Said section 24 of said chapter 21 is hereby further amended by adding the following three paragraphs:-
(10) To periodically review the natural resource management and management policies of state owned land within their respective districts and to advise the state commission from time to time as to their findings, if any.
(11) To adopt by-laws following a public hearing governing the operation of their districts, subject to the approval of the state commission.
(12) To elect by majority vote, a representative to the conservation district division in which the district is located.
SECTION 9. Said chapter 21 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 25 the following section:-
Section 25A. Conservation district divisions established pursuant to section twenty may exercise any and all powers set forth in sections twenty-one to twenty-five, inclusive.