Update on House Bill 63 – “Right to Farm”

Representative John Atkins and Senator Bruce Ennis have filed House Bill 63 in the Delaware General Assembly. As mentioned in a previous post, it’s modeled off North Dakota’s Right to Farm bill. It was released from the House agricultural committee on March 27 and heads to the House Agenda. No telling when it will actually appear on the agenda but I’ll be watching. More to come.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

147th GENERAL ASSEMBLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 63

 AN ACT PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE I OF THE CONSTITUTION RELATING TO AGRICULTURE. 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Article I of the Constitution of the State of Delaware by making insertions as shown by underlining as follows:

§21. Right to engage in agriculture.

The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.  No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices.

SYNOPSIS

                This bill is the first leg of a constitutional amendment that forever guarantees the right of farmers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices.

It’s considered a “constitutional amendment”, which means it takes longer to pass.

Article XVI defines the paths by which the Delaware Constitution can be amended:

  • The Delaware General Assembly can amend the constitution. Unlike in any other state, the state legislature can amend the constitution without a vote of the people. For the legislature to amend the constitution:
  • Two-thirds of all the members elected to each chamber can vote in favor of a proposed amendment.
  • The Delaware Secretary of State then must publish the proposed amendment(s) three months prior to the next general election in at least three newspapers in each county.
  • The subsequent General Assembly then votes again on the proposed amendment(s) and if an amendment receives the two-thirds approval of all members of each chamber, it becomes part of the constitution.

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