STIR Sues Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt Over Legality of State Question 777Tue, 01 Mar 2016 21:44:49
A coalition of Oklahomans filed suit on Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of State Question 777, the "Right to Farm and Ranch Amendment." Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Save the Illinois River, Representative Jason Dunnington, Ed Brocksmith, and John Leonard.
Oklahomans are set to vote on SQ 777 on November 8. Through SQ 777, the Oklahoma Legislature, at the behest of large agricultural corporations, has asked Oklahomans to elevate an occupational choice farming and ranching and the use of agricultural technology to fundamental rights on par with free speech and religious liberty.
"State Question 777 amounts to a massive giveaway to corporate agriculture in a truly unprecedented way," says Save the Illinois River President Denise Deason-Toyne. "Oklahomans have a right to clean water, clean air, and food safety. This 'Right to Harm' amendment strips them of those rights in favor of an industry that cares only about its own bottom line."
The government's giveaway comes at a time when Oklahomans are noticing that corporate consolidation of traditional family farms is having a negative impact on Oklahoma's economy.
According to a report published by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission in January, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting make up a mere 1.1 percent of the State's gross domestic product (GDP) and account for only 0.18 percent of all jobs. Conversely, before corporations were allowed to own agricultural land in 1993, agriculture contributed to 10 percent of the State's GDP and 11.9 percent of all jobs.
Yet now the corporations are asking for even more power. If SQ 777 becomes law, corporations and courts and not Oklahoma citizens will be responsible for defining agriculture policy in the State.
"I ran for office to improve the lives of Oklahoma citizens," says Representative Dunnington. "I voted against State Question 777 because I believe it will prevent me from doing my job to protect Oklahomans in the future. Oklahomans deserve better."
source- Save the Illinois River Website
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