Farmers Union leaders urge veto of HB 1281 A legislative attempt to revise county zoning laws raises serious legal questions and is unnecessary to promote agricultural development, according to South Dakota Farmers Union leaders. In a letter to Gov. Mike Rounds, members of the state farm and ranch organization's board of directors urged a veto of HB 1281.
Rounds signed the bill into law last week.
The South Dakota Department of Agriculture has supported HB 1281 in order to promote the development of large-scale dairies and livestock feeding operations. The measure is widely viewed as an attempt to do an "end run" around potential local opposition to development of large dairies associated with a new cheese plant at Lake Norden.
The Farmers Union leaders expressed concern regarding the measure's attempt to curtail the right of citizens to exercise their powers of referendum. The group also wondered whether the bill "can be reconciled with recent South Dakota Supreme Court decisions addressing the issue of legislative versus administrative action in relating to the granting of variances or conditional use permits" for large-scale livestock confinement facilities.
The bill also creates a "vested, compensable property right" that could result in significant litigation costs for county governments. Farmers Union legal counsel searched in vain to identify any other provision in South Dakota Codified Laws where the legislature created such a right.
An analysis of HB 1281 distributed to legislators by Secretary of Agriculture Larry
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