The "Forestry Parity Act" is a legislative proposal that seeks to amend Title 2 of the General Laws to provide equal treatment for forestry and forest product operations, akin to farming and agriculture operations. The bill recognizes the critical role of forests in biodiversity, ecosystem services, and the economy, emphasizing the need for economic incentives to maintain forests. It defines relevant terms such as "forest-based business" and "forest product operations," and aims to protect these operations from nuisance lawsuits and excessive regulations, while ensuring that malicious, negligent, or illegal operations are not protected. The bill also proposes amendments to include forestry in the purposes of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and to classify forestry machinery and equipment for asset depreciation and taxation purposes, introducing a "forestry vehicle" category for registration with special farm plates.

The bill includes various amendments to the General Laws, particularly in tax exemption provisions. It exempts all machinery used in forestry product operations from taxation and allows municipalities to tax buildings used for such operations based on the services provided. The bill also amends sales and use tax laws, providing exemptions for a range of items and operations, including those related to forestry product operations. It specifies tax exemptions for small businesses engaged in commercial forest product operations on equipment and parts up to $2,500,000. The bill includes both insertions and deletions to update legal language, such as redefining the public interest in the "Taxation of Farm, Forest, and Open Space Land" to include forest products and specifying permitted uses in "Zoning Ordinances." The act includes a severability clause and is intended to take effect upon passage.

Statutes affected:
7618: 42-64-5, 44-5-12.1, 44-18-30, 44-27-1, 45-24-37