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General Laws

Section 24. (a) The commissioner may confer with legally constituted authorities of other states and of the United States with respect to uniform milk control within and among such states; may join in conducting joint investigations, holding joint hearings and issuing joint or concurrent orders; and may enter into one or more compacts for such uniform milk control, subject to such federal approval as may be authorized or required by law.

(b) In order to promote such uniform milk control with respect to milk delivered for sale, distribution or use in any market located partly or wholly in this or any other state, the milk supply of which is at the time drawn in part from this commonwealth and in part from any other state, the commissioner, after examination and investigation and after hearing held after due notice, may, if it finds that such action is beneficial to the public interest and will promote one or more of the purposes of this chapter, join, in fixing, or fix, by such joint or concurrent and complementary order minimum prices to be paid by milk dealers to other milk dealers, producers or other persons for milk purchased, received, pasteurized, bottled or otherwise packaged, processed, or otherwise handled within the commonwealth for sale, distribution or disposal in any such market or natural marketing area; and may, if it finds such action beneficial to the public interest, in or in connection with any such order, include or adopt:

(1) Any provision, term or condition which the commissioner is by any other provision of this chapter empowered to include or adopt with reference to milk similarly purchased, received, pasteurized, bottled or otherwise packaged, processed, or otherwise handled, for sale, distribution or disposal in a market located in and drawing its milk supply wholly from within the commonwealth.

(2) Provisions whereby the commissioner may join in the appointment of a joint market administrator or other joint agency, and defining his or its powers and duties which shall include only the following powers:

(i) to administer such joint order or concurrent and complementary orders, in accordance with its or their terms and provisions;

(ii) to make rules and regulations to effectuate said terms and provisions;

(iii) to receive, investigate and report complaints of violations of said order or orders.

(3) Provisions that each milk dealer subject to such order or orders shall pay to said joint market administrator or other agency such handler’s pro rata share, as approved by the commissioner, of such expenses as the commissioner finds will be necessarily incurred by such administrator or agency in administering said order or orders.

(4) Provisions for the joint calculation and announcement of

(i) Basic production averages for all producers delivering milk for sale or distribution as fluid milk in said market;

(ii) A common uniform price for all milk delivered to all milk dealers selling or distributing, or otherwise handling, milk in said market, or common uniform prices for all milk delivered by producers to each such milk dealer; subject in either case to adjustments for grade, quality, test or location, or to a further adjustment to make uniform the returns to all such producers for milk delivered within their basic production averages.

(c) The purpose of this section is to promote co-operation with the legally constituted authorities of other states and of the United States with respect to uniform milk control. This section and the orders, rules and regulations of the commissioner issued under authority thereof shall be interpreted and construed, together with any joint or concurrent and complementary orders of the legally constituted authorities of the United States or of other states, in such manner as to effectuate the general purpose to make uniform the effect of the orders, rules and regulations of the commissioner and of said authorities of the United States or of other states, regulating the interstate and intrastate transactions of milk dealers in or with respect to milk sold, distributed or disposed of in any such market.

Upon formal enactment of any compact relative to uniform milk control by the United States Congress and participating states, there shall be appointed by the governor a delegation of five persons whose duty it shall be to cast the vote of the commonwealth as provided for in said compact, two of whom shall be farmers as defined in section one A of chapter one hundred and twenty-eight who shall be principally engaged in dairying and nominated by an organization of dairy farmers based in Massachusetts with a majority of its membership residents of Massachusetts; one of whom shall be a licensed milk dealer; one who shall be a consumer; and the commissioner or his designee, who shall serve as chairman. Terms of appointment of the gubernatorial members shall be for three years, except that upon initial formation of the delegation two persons shall be appointed to serve terms of two years and two persons shall be appointed to serve terms of three years.

Upon formal enactment of any compact relative to uniform milk control by the United States Congress and participating states, the commissioner shall report annually to the joint committee on natural resources and agriculture and the house and senate committees on ways and means as to the status of said compact as well as its impacts upon the farmers, milk dealers, and consumers of the commonwealth.

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