Newton Passes Farm Freedom Bills in Committee
OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Carl Newton advanced two pieces of legislation out of House Committees on Tuesday that would expand freedoms and protections for state farmers and ranchers.
House Bill 1962 would allow any person age 14 to 16 who lives or is employed on a farm to apply for a farm permit authorizing them to operate any Class D motor vehicle while going directly to or from work or school. The only passengers allowed in the vehicle would be licensed drivers or siblings. The bill passed the House Public Safety Committee unanimously.
House Bill 1966 would allow a person that already has a commercial license to apply pesticides to do so to their own property without having to reapply for a private license, while other uses would still require licensing, examination and other fees to be paid to the State Board of Agriculture. Further, the measure also reorganizes areas of existing law. The bill passed in the House Agriculture Committee.
"Our farming communities are really hurting, and they need these expanded freedoms to be able to provide the food and other crops that we count so necessary to daily life," Newton said.
Regarding the farm permit, he said this is a practice that has been in place for 60 years and has worked well in a neighboring state.
Newton said the issue of pesticide drift needed clarification after the proliferation of marijuana growing operations in the state. This legislation specifies who is licensed to apply commercial pesticides and what damages may be assessed for harm to others' crops, but it also preserves personal liberty for our farmers.
Both bills now are eligible to be considered by the full House.