Speaking to the Oklahoma Farm Report, Dr. Shannon Ferrell and Farm Director Ron Hays discuss the impact State Question 777 will have on Oklahoma.
Ferrell pointed out up front, that Oklahoma currently has on the books a Right to Farm statute, not to be confused with SQ777. He says the statute, which has been on the books in Oklahoma for a few years now, protects farmers and ranchers from nuisance claims (i.e., odors, sounds, etc.). State Question 777 however, will go beyond nuisance claims.
One of the most important — and vague — phrases in the measure’s language focuses on a compelling state interest:
Unlike similar amendments that have been passed in North Dakota and Missouri, SQ777 includes a phrase that allows interference on the rights it guarantees, only if a “compelling state interest” can be made. Ferrell regards a “compelling state interest” as a reason that basically outweighs the amendment for the greater good such as matters of public safety for instance. He says though that to do this, the legislature would have to ultimately prove that the interference would fix whatever the issue may be, and that it was being done in the least intrusive way to that constitutional right.