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Bill to shield Nebraska farmers from nuisance suits advances

Bill to shield Nebraska farmers from nuisance suits advances
Courtesy/Nebraska Legislature -- Sen. Dan Hughes, Venango.

Lincoln,  Neb.  — A bill that would expand protections for Nebraska farmers against nuisance lawsuits has advanced in the Legislature despite objections that it could infringe on neighbors’ property rights.

Lawmakers gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday with a 31-7 vote.

Sen. Dan Hughes, a Venango farmer, says the bill would help farmers who want to install chicken houses or hog confinements. Farmers would have to comply with local zoning ordinances and use “reasonable techniques” to keep dust, noise, insects and odors to a minimum.

Opponents say the bill is vague and doesn’t do enough to protect neighbors who might find themselves next to a smelly hog confinement. They say that some counties don’t have local ordinances to address those concerns.  Two more votes are needed before the bill goes to the governor.

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