Ohio Senate Bill 150, the measure which would enact a fertilizer application licensing process in Ohio similar to the pesticide applicators’ program hit a wall in late 2013 due to so-called ‘affirmative defense’ language in the bill.
Bill sponsors Senate Ag Chairman Cliff Hite and Sen. Bob Peterson put the measure on hold until 2014 while issues among stakeholders over the affirmative defense language is sorted out.
Under language in a recent version of the bill, a farmer’s filing of a voluntary nutrient management plan for his or her farm would qualify as an affirmative defense in court should that farm be sued relative to civil nuisance actions. An affirmative defense means that legally certain facts are established on their face by the existence of a nutrient management plan.
At the last hearing of SB 150 in the Senate Agriculture Committee, Peterson noted that one of the amendments for that day – which was eventually agreed to – would strip the affirmative defense language from the bill. He added that it is his intention for a different version of that language to go back into the bill after negotiations with stakeholders.