Appeal filed over controversial “Right to Farm” ballot measure

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Opponents of a controversial state question have filed an appeal to keep it off the November ballot.

In May, a district court judge threw out the original lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs, who argued the constitutionality of the measure.

The judge said on its face, the state question is not unconstitutional.

Now, opponents are hoping the Supreme Court disagrees.

The clock is ticking.

Next month, the Oklahoma election board will print the November ballot.

On it, for now, is state question 777.

It would change the language in our constitution.

Just like a right to bear arms, Oklahomans would have a so-called “right to farm.”

“We’ve seen that agriculture’s under attack from east coast, Hollywood, DC type lobbyists who are trying to dictate how we farm and ranch, and limit our food supply here in Oklahoma,” Rep Scott Biggs said.

“That just hasn’t happened here in Oklahoma at all, and frankly, it wouldn’t happen here, not with a legislature that has a history of protecting the farming and ranching practices that we all deeply care about,” Rep. Jason Dunnington said.

Rep. Jason Dunnington is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit alleging the state question is unconstitutional and too vague.

Similar measures are being pushed across the Midwest by ALEC, a right wing policy organization.

“It’s being pushed by large, multi-national agricultural corporations that would like to have greater control and power over how both food and animals are farmed and processed throughout the Midwest,” Rep. Dunnington said.

The state question guarantees broad farming and ranching practices, and would prevent the legislature from passing laws against those practices without a “compelling state interest.”

“It’s a reasonable regulation,” Rep. Biggs said.

Those against the question say that bar is too high and fear Oklahoma’s resources and small mom and pop farms will be overrun by corporations.

“The Walmart model of farming, if you will, will drive small farms out of the business, and they won’t be able to compete anymore with a company that can lower prices and take them out of the market,” Rep. Dunnington said.

The appeal was filed on an accelerated docket at the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

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