Nebraska Senate Agriculture Committee members heard testimony on Right to Farm legislation last week. Senator Jerry Johnson, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair, introduced the interim study to examine the Nebraska Right to Farm Act, which was introduced last session by Senator John Kuehn.
“The purpose of the hearing was just to learn more about it,” said Senator Johnson.
The areas of focus was on what Nebraska currently has on the books, how it compares to other states and the differences between a constitutional versus statutory law. Anthony Schutz, associate professor of law at the University of Nebraska, testified on these topics.
When it comes to protections against nuisance lawsuits, for livestock operations, Schutz says that Nebraska is pretty strong compared to other states. But, says the state is not as protected when it comes to land use regulations. He says Missouri and North Dakota are the only states that passed constitutional amendments and Oklahoma is voting this year on one.
Schutz says there is really only one reason to make a constitutional amendment. “There is one thing that a constitutional amendment can do, that the Legislature can’t do. And that’s to protect agriculture from the Legislature itself,” said Schutz. He adds that it would still be up to a court to decide how to interpret the language of the bill.
No one from Senator Kuehn’s office was present at the hearing.