LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers on Thursday approved a June 30 cutoff date for farmers to use the herbicide dicamba on soybeans and cotton.
The vote came hours after the state Supreme Court ordered the removal of half of the regulatory board that set the date.
The Legislative Council’s executive subcommittee approved the Plant Board’s rules this year to use the herbicide, which has sparked disputes over complaints that it drifts onto and damages neighboring crops. Farmers had May 25 cutoffs for the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons.
The rules were approved the same day the Supreme Court struck down a law that allowed nine of the 18 Plant Board members to be appointed by industry groups. Justices called it an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to private entities.
The ruling stemmed from legal challenges over dicamba. Justices ordered a lower court to remove the nine privately appointed members.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a law in March to end private appointments and expand the board to 19 members. But that law didn’t take effect until late July and had called for allowing current board members to complete their terms.
Hutchinson said he would fill the new vacancies when the new law takes effect.