Amended Hog Nuisance Bill, Courtesy of Big Pork Pal Senator Brent Jackson, Clears N.C. Senate Committee | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Amended Hog Nuisance Bill, Courtesy of Big Pork Pal Senator Brent Jackson, Clears N.C. Senate Committee

Posted by on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 6:14 PM

An amended version of a controversial hog-farm-protection bill, HB 467, passed the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday afternoon and is now headed to the Senate Rules Committee.

As the INDY has previously reported, HB 467 would restrict the amount of money property owners could collect in nuisance lawsuits filed against agricultural operations, including hog farms. If passed, it would essentially cap the damages property owners could collect in nuisance lawsuits at the fair market value of their property, which critics say is often made lower by the presence of commercial farms.

A particularly contentious (and legally dubious) part of the bill would have restricted such damages even for current nuisance lawsuits—essentially nullifying twenty-six federal lawsuits pending against Murphy-Brown, the hog division of the powerful Smithfield Foods corporation. That provision was slashed in an amendment introduced in the House's third reading of the bill in early April.

This afternoon, the Senate Agriculture Committee green-lighted an amendment brought forward by Senator Brent Jackson, a sponsor of the bill's Senate version, that clarified that pending legal actions wouldn't apply to HB 467.
Though the bill would no longer apply to current nuisance litigation, it would impact all future suits filed against agriculture operations, which opponents and environmental advocates say is just as worrisome.

Indeed, critics—including some senators at Tuesday's committee meeting—have noted the bill's likely harmful and disproportionate impact on the low-income and minority communities living near commercial hog farms. They also expressed concerns about the bill's implications for private property rights.

“Is this bill going to have a disparate impact on families?” Democratic Senator Erica Smith-Ingram asked. "How are we going to deal with the disparate impact this will have on communities of color?"

Jackson argued that there was a need for the bill, citing "frivolous lawsuits" filed against farmers by lawyers from out of state. "The industry cannot sustain this," he said.

Jackson—an industry-friendly farmer who represents Duplin, Johnston, and Sampson counties—may be concerned about the livelihoods of some of his constituents. But, like many of his colleagues in the House, he's also gotten money from the very industry that would benefit from the legislation—more than $130,000, in fact, from the Murphy family (Murphy-Brown), Maxwell family (Goldsboro Milling, one of the biggest hog producers in the nation), Prestage family (another hog operation), Smithfield Foods, and the N.C. Pork Council.

Campaign finance information was collected at followthemoney.org and will be updated as more donations from Big Pork are discovered.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

Who would have believed that HIV/AIDS is curable, I have been living with HIV for close to 20 years until …

by Tyson Hurley on Study: N.C. among 10 states with highest HIV infection, death rates (News)

Perhaps the appeal will succeed, but judges are usually reluctant to interfere with another judge's discretion to run a courtroom …

by ct on Raleigh Immigration Attorney Gets $2,510 Fine for Texting in Court (News)

Most Recent Comments

Who would have believed that HIV/AIDS is curable, I have been living with HIV for close to 20 years until …

by Tyson Hurley on Study: N.C. among 10 states with highest HIV infection, death rates (News)

Perhaps the appeal will succeed, but judges are usually reluctant to interfere with another judge's discretion to run a courtroom …

by ct on Raleigh Immigration Attorney Gets $2,510 Fine for Texting in Court (News)

Wow. This article and the pronouncements by the city council are so staggeringly contrary to reality it would be commical. …

by Craig Stump on City Council Calls on Durham to “Resist Bigotry,” Recommit to Inclusive Values Ahead of Jordan Peterson's DPAC Show (News)

Prosecuting this attorney is a misuse of government resources at a minimum, and at a maximum is retaliatory prosecution that …

by Toni Maschler on Raleigh Immigration Attorney Gets $2,510 Fine for Texting in Court (News)

This is something I've never liked. Judges have far too much power in the legal system, which was never the …

by Timothy Oswald on Raleigh Immigration Attorney Gets $2,510 Fine for Texting in Court (News)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation