Responding to objections from Gov. Jay Nixon, Missouri lawmakers passed a revised bill that would restrict the ability of neighboring property owners to bring nuisance lawsuits against large, smelly hog farms.
The legislation would limit the amount of money people could win in nuisance lawsuits against livestock and crop producers. It also seeks to prohibit neighbors from filing repeated nuisance claims arising out of similar conditions against the same farm.
Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed a prior version of the bill last week but indicated a willingness to work with the Republican-led Legislature on revisions. The House passed a modified bill last week by a 100-42 vote and the Senate followed suit on May 10, sending the legislation to Nixon by a 24-8 vote. Sponsoring Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, said Nixon has assured him that he will sign the revised bill into law.
A Nixon spokesman stopped short of such a pledge.
“The governor outlined his concerns on this issue in his veto message. We will be reviewing this legislation to ensure that those concerns have been addressed,” said Nixon spokesman Sam Murphey.
The legislation comes after hog-producer Premium Standard Farms — a major employer in northern Missouri — warned last year that it might have to leave the state if it continued to be targeted by nuisance lawsuits. Such lawsuits have resulted in multimillion-dollar awards against the company, including an $11 million award to a group of 15 northwest Missouri residents.