Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Action Alert: Call Your Senator NOW on Senate Bill 88 "Farming Operations"

  Use your voice! .

Call your Senator before noon on Thursday, March 11th! The bill will be debated on the Senate Floor Thursday afternoon.




 What to say when you call: .


“Hello!  My name is ______ and I’m a constituent.  I’m calling to ask Senator _____ to vote NO on Senate Bill 88 on Thursday.


Everyone deserves an even playing field when it comes to our justice system.  SB 88 would greatly reduce our ability to hold agricultural industry defendants accountable by favoring them above plaintiffs and other businesses. This bad bill clearly picks winners and losers, and that’s just not fair to Floridians.


Please vote NO on SB 88.  Thank you!”


 Call your Florida Senator before noon on Thursday: .

(it’s okay to leave a voicemail, or to send an email if calling isn’t an option; do not forward this email to senators or representatives, instead, write a new email to them)


Find your Florida Senator by putting your address info in here (click this link), but be sure to come back to this email for your script).





<<alt text:black  graphic with white text states share this action alert on your social media to reach even more people, includes instructions for saving graphics and posting on social media platforms>>


You can also share this media attention to your social media, and ask friends to call their Florida Senator and Representative to vote NO on these bad bills.


“Environmentalists Say Bill To Protect Farmers From Lawsuits Disenfranches Communities Impacted By Sugarcane Burning”



 

If you want more info, dive in!  Remember, you don’t need to be an expert in order to take action.  Making the phone call is the most important part.

 

 The Problems with SB 88: .

  • SB 88 isn't simply adding agritourism to activities allowed under the Right to Farm Act.

  • It sets up an uneven playing field between potential plaintiffs and farm operation defendants by expanding protections beyond nuisance claims.

  • Floridians deserve the right to seek redress through our justice system without legislation that pre-determines winners and losers.

  • This bill favors farm operations above other everyday Floridians and businesses.

  • This bill will make it difficult or impossible for residents currently subjected to 8 months of smoke and ash from sugar burning each year to successfully sue for damages.


 More background information on this issue: .

  • Makes plaintiffs risk responsibility for the legal fees of farm operation defendants

    • Everyday Floridians with legitimate complaints are far less likely to seek and receive justice due to the enormous potential liability

    • This is a deliberate tactic to dissuade suits from being filed

  • Stretches the “coming to the nuisance” argument

    • “Right to Farm” laws protect farm operations from suits filed by newcomers who move to a farming area and complain about noise and smells on the grounds that they chose to “come to the nuisance”

    • SB 88 stretches that argument to extend protection to suits having nothing to do with newcomers moving in, such as negligence, personal injury, and defective product liability. No one chooses to “come to negligence.”

  • Creates a much steeper burden of proof for plaintiffs with legitimate injuries

    • Applies only to farm operations

  • Removes plaintiffs’ ability to seek health impact damages in court

    • Limits damage award to no more than the amount of reduction in value of a plaintiff’s property, even if their injury is entirely unrelated to that property

  • Eliminates liability for punitive damages for egregious conduct if an irrelevant threshold is not met

    •  requires a criminal conviction or civil enforcement by an environmental regulatory agency within 3 years of the start of the lawsuit

      • Not all civil actions are covered by criminal laws, and

      • Environmental agencies do not fine all violators. For years, DEP “encouraged compliance” instead of enforcing it.

  • Eliminates the rights of plaintiffs living more than 2,640 feet, ½ mile, from a farm operations defendant to address issues in court

    • Constituents that live 2,640 feet from a potential defendant have their rights removed (that’s the distance from the Capitol complex to Tennessee Street)

    • Water, air, noise, and light pollution can and do occur at much greater distances than ½ miles


###