As it relates to agricultural legislation (some of which impact or could impact the Oklahoma equine industry), 2017 has been a busy year so far.  The following highlights just a few of either legislation officially signed by the Governor or legislation still working the way through the legislative process.

  • HB 1224 – Oklahoma Agricultural Land for Recreation Liability Limitation Act
    • This legislation passed the House and is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
      • This Act relating to agriculture land used for recreation would eliminate liability for injury of a participant of recreational activities (including horseback riding) under certain conditions by providing an affirmative defense of assumption of the risk.  However, there are exceptions to this liability protection and there is also a required posting of a warning notice.

  • HB 1388 – Amendment to Agricultural Nuisance Law – 50 OS 2011, §1.1
    • This amendment to 50 OS 2011, §1.1 was signed by the Governor on May 16, 2017, and goes into effect on November 1, 2017.
      • This Act applies to agricultural activities including the raising of livestock such as equines.
      • Under this Act no action for nuisance can be brought against a facility raising equines which has lawfully been in operation for two (2) years or more prior to the bringing of the action.
      • The amendment to this statute clarifies how a change in operation would not impact the commencement of operations date for purposes of calculating the two (2) year period.  The clarification is as follows:
        • “1. The physical facilities of the farm or ranch are subsequently expanded or new technology adopted; 2. The farming or ranching is interrupted for no more than three (3) years; or 3. The farm or ranch participates in a government-sponsored agricultural program.”
  • HB 1193 – Amendment to Livestock Brands Law – 2 O.S. 2011, §§ 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, 4-5, 4-6, 4-7, 4-10, 4-11 & 4-13
    • This amendment to 50 OS 2011, §1.1 was signed by the Governor on May 2, 2017, and goes into effect on November 1, 2017.
      • These amendments transfer certain branding oversight duties to an organization designated by the State Board of Agriculture.
  • HB 1326 – New law Related to Unmanned Aircraft Over Private Agricultural Property
    • This legislation passed the House and is currently still in the Senate.
      • This legislation, with exceptions, would prohibit the unauthorized operation of unmanned aircraft over private agricultural property.
  • HB 1305 – New Act Authorizing Counties to Issue Permits to Harvest Hay Along Public Roads
    • This Act was signed by the Governor on May 10, 2017, and goes into effect on November 1, 2017.
      • This Act authorizes the Boards of County Commissioners to issue permits allowing the harvesting of hay along the right-of-way of public roads of the county highway system within their respective counties. Each permit authorizes the permittee to harvest hay for the duration of the calendar year.
  • SB 616 – Amendment to the Oklahoma Agritourism Activities Liability Limitations Act
    • This legislation passed the Senate and is currently still in the House.
      • This amendment would extend liability limitation to “Argitourism Professionals” and requires a written waiver agreement which must include certain language.
      • For purposes of this act, an agritourism activity means “any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy rural activities, including farming, ranching, historic, cultural, harvest-your-own activities, or natural activities and attractions. An activity is an agritourism activity whether or not the participant paid to participate in the activity.”  Open barn activities promoting certain equine breeds or other equine related activities could fall into this category.

As mentioned earlier, these are just a few of the agricultural related legislation either signed into law or being considered thus far in 2017.  For a full list of the 2017 agricultural legislation visit marywestmanlaw.com.

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