November 8, 2013 Weekly Round Up

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.**

Proposition 6 Passes.  With a 73% vote, Texas voters passed Proposition 6 on Tuesday, allowing $2 billion to be moved from the State’s Rainy Day Fund into a revolving fund to provide funding for water infrastructure, supply, and conservation projects.  The funds will be used to provide low interest loans in order to assist communities and utilities with completing projects identified as necessary under the 2012 Texas Water Plan.  The selection of projects to receive the loans will be made by the Texas Water Development Board.  It is mandated, however, that 20% of the funds be used for conservation projects and that 10% of the funds be used for projects in rural areas.  The next steps for the Texas Water Development Board is to develop rules for ranking and selecting projects for funding.  [Read articles here and here.]

*  Estate Tax Exemption for 2014 Adjusted for Inflation.  Each year, the estate tax exemption (permanently set at $5,000,000 per person by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013) is adjusted for inflation.  For 2013, the exempted amount was $5,125,000.  For 2014, the adjusted amount of the exemption is $5,340,000.  A Texas law firm recently published a short, easy-to-read article explaining this exemption and how it works.  [Read article here.]

* Dealing with Livestock in a Divorce.  Aggie graduate and agricultural law attorney, Cari Rincker, recently co-authored an article discussing dealing with animals during divorce proceedings.  Given Cari’s agricultural law practice, her portion of the article discusses some considerations when a divorce involves livestock.  The article recognizes both the emotional attachment that the parties may have to the animals, particularly if multi-generational farming operations are involved, as well as the difficulties encountered in valuation of livestock in divorce situations. [Read article here.]


*  Direct-to-Consumer Farmer Webinar Series.  Farm Commons, a non-profit legal service organization in Madison, WI, has announced an 8 part webinar series discussing legal issues that face direct-to-consumer farmers, including webinars on on-farm events, adding value to products, hiring employees, and food safety and liability regulations.  The webinars are free of charge and begin December 2, 2013.  [Read list of webinars here.]

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