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Legislative Resolution 378CA, a constitutional amendment to ensure the right of farmers and ranchers in Nebraska to farm and ranch, was voted out of the Agriculture Committee last week. In an extended executive session the resolution advanced to General File on a 5-3 vote.
The resolution, if passed by the Legislature, will be placed on the general election ballot this year to be voted on by the citizens of Nebraska. Introduced by Senator John Kuehn, LR378CA was proposed “to protect agriculture as a vital sector of the Nebraska economy by guaranteeing the rights of citizens and lawful residents of Nebraska to engage in farming and ranching practices.”¹
As Senator Kuehn shared in the Agriculture Committee hearing, “Agriculture is the undisputed foundation of Nebraska. The economic engine of our state, Nebraska agriculture represents one in every four jobs and over $23 billion in economic impact.” Because of the potential for expensive lawsuits from anti-agriculture groups inside and outside of Nebraska, Senator Kuehn introduced this resolution which would create the highest level of protection for the right to farm and ranch. Senator Kuehn adds, “Nebraska’s farm families do not have the resources to defend legal challenges in response to suits filed by deep-pocketed, anti-agriculture activist groups.”
LR378CA creates what is called in legal jargon the “strict scrutiny” level of judicial review. Essentially, this means that, if the State of Nebraska passes a law that restricts the rights of farmers and ranchers to run their businesses, it must justify such a law with a very strong reason. Generally, this means that farmers and ranchers will be free to farm and ranch.
I support LR378CA because I believe it will provide protection for farmers and ranchers to continue their operations without the risk of being sued by environmental groups and other anti-agriculture organizations. The constitutional amendment, if passed, does not provide an exemption for farmers and ranchers to circumvent federal regulations. But in an age when farming and ranching practices are becoming more difficult to maintain, it is important to provide legal protection for our number one industry. In representing a district where the economy is widely driven by agricultural interests, I feel it is important to show strong support in protecting farmers’ and ranchers’ agricultural heritages.
As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Joe and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address your concerns, thoughts, and needs. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman for Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature.
¹ Senator John Kuehn, Statement of Intent for LR378CA (available at http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/Current/PDF/SI/LR378CA.pdf).