UPDATE: On June 26, 2018, the NC Senate predictably voted to override by a wide margin. In the NC House, the vote to override passed 74-45 (a 3/5 majority is required to override a gubernatorial veto). Thanks to all of you for your valiant efforts in this legislative fight.
More Information on S711
On Monday, June 25, 2018, NC Governor Cooper took action on 39 bills that were passed by the General Assembly and brought to his desk for approval. He VETOED Bill S711, the bill that is intended to limit hog nuisance suits. The bill has attracted intense opposition from a variety of parties, including Yadkin Riverkeeper, environmental advocates, rural advocacy groups, trial lawyers and even some Republicans. Please contact the Governor and your legislators and show your support to maintain the veto.
S711 deserves your veto for multiple reasons:
- S711 eliminates property rights that pre-date North Carolina statehood and strips neighbors and communities of access to the courts in an effort to protect a single industry from liability. The bill constrains nuisance challenges so tightly that the only example of a viable claim the bill sponsor could imagine is a lawsuit following the complete abandonment of a farm by its owners.
- The communities surrounding intensive hog farms in North Carolina are already disproportionately burdened based on their race or ethnicity. In January 2017, the US EPA expressed its concern that the impacts of animal agriculture, coupled with inadequate state remedies, violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Your Administration has shown leadership on this issue and recently settled negotiations resulting from that EPA letter. S711, section 10 would entrench the same unequal protection that concerned the federal agency, and is inconsistent with the values and direction of your Administration.
- Even viewed from the perspective of H467’s supporters, S711 is unnecessary. There have been no nuisance suits filed against any agricultural operations in North Carolina other than the suits against Smithfield in a number of years. Furthermore, it is our understanding that no lawsuits filed after the effective date of H467 have reached a judgment against Smithfield or any other farm or integrator, and the ongoing lawsuits are not subject to either H467 or S711. Thus, even if one believed it was important to limit nuisance claims against the corporation, there is no evidence that S711 is needed to reach that goal.
- Because the bill precludes lawsuits that have not been filed as of the date of the bill’s enactment, it effectively ‘takes’ the accrued but as yet unfiled claims of an unknown number of neighbors. Under Rhyne v. K-Mart Corp, 258 N.C. 160, 594 S.E. 2nd 1 (2004), S711 may leave the State responsible for compensating each of these residents for their lost claims, imposing an unknowable financial liability on state government.
You can email all legislators at the following email addresses
All Legislators: InternetE-Mail@ncleg.net
House Members: HouseEemail@example.com
Senate Members: SenateEfirstname.lastname@example.org