I have been busy practicing what I preach, and trying to figure out what the “elected representatives” in our state capitol have been quaffing. Not only did they pass this ridiculous HB 209, which is effectively eminent domain for corporate agribiz, but it also allows ALL counties to require “junkyards” to potentially put up a 10′ fence if within 200′ of a State or County road! If you fail to bow to the new state wide zoning, you can be charged with a Calss C misdemeanor, consisting of $300 fine and up to 15 days in jail. If you still fail to bow, then you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, up to $1000 in fines and a year in jail.
This legislation is ridiculous on ALL counts and definitely subverts local custom and culture and perverts our ability to receive redress for grievances. The way it has been is fine, the way it will be will destroy private property rights in Missouri.
HB 209 isn’t the only perversion in land rights in the General Assembly, they passed UNANIMOUSLY HB 458 which is the Missouri Future Serfs in the name of AG bill. It is in front of the Senate Ag committee and is gigantic piece of trash. Go to http://www.moga.mo.gov and click on the “joint bill tracking” link. The Type in HB and a space and 458 and read it for yourself. If this passes the State will gobble up farmland and decide who gets to farm it under their standards and by a “commission”.
Where is the Constitution? Collecting dust evidently.
Below is a good editorial on HB 209. No one is touching on the “junk yards”, but that will be the massive revenue generator for the counties.
Gotta go plant food…..We’re going to need it! St. Louis Post Editorial: Factory farm protection act degrades Missouri’s Constitution
Missouri lawmakers passed House Bill 209 by wide margins earlier this month. It limits the rights of people who own land near large factory farms to recover damages from foul odors and other problems created by huge animal-feeding operations.
This is one of the most noxious pieces of legislation to land on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk this session.
If the governor needs a reason to veto the bill, he need only remind himself of the oath he took when he was inaugurated, in which he swore to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Missouri.
HB 209 makes a mockery of the state constitution. Lawmakers are trying to vest corporate agricultural interests with the state’s power to take away their neighbors’ full use and enjoyment of their private property.
Mr. Nixon has until Tuesday to sign it or veto it. The choice is easy: Veto.
Article I, Section 26 of the Missouri Constitution provides that “private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation.”
This constitutional protection doesn’t just limit the state’s power to force the sale of private property, but it also kicks in when state actions amount to a “partial taking,” such as when a public water treatment plant emits noxious odors that interfere with neighbors’ use and enjoyment of their properties.
What’s more, agricultural land enjoys extra protections under state law. Farmland is off limits in eminent domain proceedings. A “condemning authority” is expressly prohibited by state statute from “blighting” any “real property used for agricultural purposes.”
With HB 209, lawmakers would turn these constitutional and statutory protections on their head. They are doing so at the behest of corporate agricultural entities that run giant livestock operations and don’t want to be fully financially liable for the problems they cause their neighbors.
Such CAFOs — concentrated animal-feeding operations — can befoul the air with millions of gallons of hog waste held in open-air lagoons and sprayed across the land. In 2010, a group of 15 small farm families was awarded $11 million in a class-action suit against a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, which operates a 4,300-acre, 80-barn facility in Gentry County in northwest Missouri. The operation processes about 200,000 hogs a year.
HB 209 would limit the liability for CAFO operators. In effect, it grants factory farms the right, for a one-time payment, to devastate property values and take away in perpetuity their neighbors’ use and enjoyment of their property.
As state attorney general, Mr. Nixon pushed back against mega-farm abuses, winning a good reputation among advocates for Missouri’s family farmers. Tim Gibbons, a spokesman for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, a statewide non-profit that promotes the interests of small farmers, told us the governor knows what it means “to put 80,000 to 100,000 sows next to a farm where a family has lived for generations.”
Mr. Nixon might be reluctant to exercise a veto that very well could be overridden by the Legislature. Missouri lawmakers disgraced themselves across party lines when they passed HB 209 by veto-proof majorities (27-7 in the Senate and 110-45 in the House).
He should veto it anyway, and force rural lawmakers to go home and explain to their constituents why they sold them down a river of hog waste.