Legislators significantly change hog farm liability bill

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Legislation to limit hog farms’ liability in lawsuits over animal waste smells has passed the North Carolina House after a significant change.

The House narrowly voted Monday to add language to specify that the legislation would not apply to pending lawsuits. The chamber then passed the bill, sending it to the state Senate.

The legislation limits penalties that a jury or judge could impose against hog farms or other agricultural operations in lawsuits accusing them of creating a nuisance for neighbors. The farms’ liability would be limited to the lost property value plaintiffs can prove was the result of the nuisance. The liability couldn’t exceed a piece of property’s market value.

Some Democrats and Republicans argued during floor debate that the General Assembly would meddle in existing lawsuits without the amendment added Monday.