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Bill Summary Details

Farming Operations/Agritourism (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/CS/SB 88 (Brodeur) and CS/CS/HB 1601 (Williamson) revise the Right to Farm Act to incorporate agritourism activities within the scope of the Act. The Right to Farm Act specifies that no farm operation that has been in operation for one year or more and that was not a nuisance at the time of its establishment shall be a public or private nuisance if the farm operation conforms to generally accepted agricultural and management practices. In addition, the bills provide limitations on liability from nuisance, trespass or tort actions that may be filed relating to farming or agritourism activities. They specify that a farm may not be held liable for operations alleged to cause harm outside of the farm unless the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the claim arises out of conduct that does not comply with state and federal environmental laws, regulations or best management practices. The bills further provide that a nuisance action may not be filed unless the property affected by the activity is located within one-half mile of the activity. The bills limit compensatory damages in a private nuisance action to the reduction in fair market value of the affected property. They prohibit the recovery of punitive damages for nuisance actions under specified conditions. The bills require payment of attorney fees and costs by plaintiffs who fail to prevail in a nuisance action. CS/CS/CS/SB 88 passed in the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. (O’Hara)