H.B. 1091, called a "right-to-farm" bill by supporters, passed the Indiana House, 57-39, Jan. 31 and was scheduled for a hearing before the legislature's Senate Judiciary Committee this week.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 16 states already have statutes requiring plaintiffs to pay attorney's fees in agricultural nuisance suits.
The Indiana bill is supported by the Indiana Farm Bureau and the Indiana Pork Producers Association. Not surprisingly, environmental groups are opposed.
Republican Rep. William Friend said he introduced the bill because farms need protection from lawsuits filed simply to interfere with their business. While livestock farms have been the subject of most nuisance suits, the bill would apply to all farms in the state.