The state Senate is one step closer to putting some antiquated laws out to pasture, following a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday afternoon.
Committee members approved Senate Bill 47, which would amend the state’s livestock trespass laws. The code sections had not been updated since 1913 and required owners of runaway livestock to be fined “not less than five dollars nor more than ten dollars.”
The new version of the law increases those penalties significantly. Owners of runaway livestock would receive a warning after the first offense. If
they receive a second offense within six months of their original infraction, the irresponsible farmer would be charged with a misdemeanor
and fined $50.
A third offense would result in a fine of $100 to $1,000.
“I don’t know of any cattle drives anymore so I believe it’s overdue we update our statute,” said Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson.
The bill was on track to pass during the 2012 legislative session but got caught in the end-of- session logjam.
Sen. Bob Williams, D-Taylor, said the law is not set up to penalize farmers whose livestock escape by accident. He said this legislation would crack down on farmers who just let their animals run wherever they choose.
The bill previously passed the Senate’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. It will now go to the full Senate for a vote.
Also yesterday, the House Political Subdivisions Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would strike municipalities’ power to enact their own gun or ammunition restrictions.
A state law banning new municipal gun bans is already on the books, but it included a grandfather clause exempting ordinances adopted before June 1, 1999. The new bill would eliminate the grandfather clause. Committee members unanimously approved the bill but recommended the House Judiciary Committee also review the legislation before it goes to the full House.