Full Statute Name:  Amendment 13. Uniform Regulation of Livestock Operations

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Primary Citation:  Amendment 13. Uniform Regulation of Livestock Operations Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  August, 2014 Date Adopted:  1998
Summary: This 1998 Colorado ballot measure sought to create uniform livestock regulations based on the potential environmental impact that the operation causes (rather than the character of the farm). It specifically sought to target the non-point pollution caused by large-scale operation run-off. The measure further added a definition for "livestock." It failed at the polls with only 38.7% of the vote.
Statute Text: 

Colorado General Assembly, Legislative Council

Analysis of 1998 Ballot Proposals

This proposal repeals and reenacts an existing section of the Colorado Revised Statutes and is shown in regular type.

Amendment 13

Uniform Regulation of Livestock Operations

Title

An amendment to the Colorado Constitution requiring the uniform application of laws to livestock operations, and, in connection therewith, mandating that laws and regulations concerning livestock operations be uniform and based upon the similarity in the potential impact on the environment of the livestock operation; making unconstitutional any state law or regulation that does not treat livestock operations uniformly based upon the similarity in the potential impact on the environment of the livestock operation; allowing the general assembly to make a distinction between livestock feeding on the range and livestock feeding in a concentrated animal feeding operation; permitting the general assembly to make a distinction between concentrated animal feeding operations that are smaller than one thousand animal units and those that are larger than one thousand animal units; specifying that one animal unit be considered to be a cow and all other livestock to be fractions of a cow as determined by the general assembly; and defining livestock as cattle, sheep, goats, swine, mules, poultry, horses, and all other animals raised or kept for profit.

Text

Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado:

Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution, is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:

Section 14. Environmental protection - protection of human health and the environment - uniform livestock operations - declaration. (1) We the People of Colorado do hereby find, determine, and declare that animals raised in this state for commercial purposes are vital to the state's economy and our quality of life. However, because of the increased demand for animals used for commercial purposes, the water quality of Colorado's groundwater, rivers, streams, and lakes and the air we breath may be impacted. Therefore, it is the intent of the People of Colorado that this section be interpreted broadly and liberally for furthering the goals of protecting the environment and human health and for the strict and uniform application of laws concerning livestock operations.

(2) Laws and regulations concerning all livestock operations shall be uniform and based upon the similarity in the potential impact on the environment of all such livestock operations. Any state law or regulation which does not treat livestock operations which bear similar potential impacts on the environment in a uniform manner shall be unconstitutional.

(3) For purposes of this section "livestock" means cattle, sheep, goats, swine, mules, poultry, horses, and all other animals raised or kept for profit.

(4) The general assembly may make a distinction between livestock feeding on the range and livestock feeding in a concentrated animal feeding operation. The general assembly may also make a distinction between concentrated animal feeding operations which are smaller than one thousand animal units and those which are larger. One animal unit shall be considered to be a cow and all other livestock shall be considered fractions thereof as determined by the general assembly.

Analysis of Amendment 13

Colorado General Assembly, Legislative Council

Analysis of 1998 Ballot Proposals

The Legislative Council takes no position with respect to the merits of the proposals. In listing the "arguments for" and "arguments against," the Council is merely describing the arguments relating to the proposals. The quantity or quality of the "for" or "against" paragraphs listed for the proposals should not be interpreted as an indication of the Legislative Council position.

Amendment 13

UNIFORM REGULATION OF LIVESTOCK OPERATIONS

The proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution:

* requires uniform laws for regulating all livestock operations that have similar potential impacts on air and water quality;

* defines "livestock" as any animals raised or kept for profit;

* allows the legislature to make certain exceptions to the uniform laws based on the size and type of feeding operation; and

* makes unconstitutional any law or regulation that does not treat livestock operations uniformly.

Background

The commercial livestock industry contributes roughly $2.8 billion to Colorado's economy. Livestock is defined as cattle, sheep, goats, swine, mules, horses, and all other animals raised or kept for profit. Recent growth in the industry, and especially confined feeding facilities for swine, has created concern that the state should establish regulations on animal waste disposal. If the waste from these operations is not properly disposed of, it can pollute the air and water. Currently, the state regulates livestock operators who feed their animals in confined facilities, but does not regulate air emissions and odor from these facilities. This proposal amends the Colorado Constitution to require that state laws and regulations concerning livestock operations be uniform among operations that have a similar potential impact on the environment. The measure could apply to approximately 14,000 animal operations within the state.

Arguments For

1) This proposal ensures that all livestock operations are regulated the same if the impacts to the environment are similar. Regulation of livestock operations should be based on the environmental impacts of those operations rather than the type of animal. Consistent regulations that apply to all livestock operations are a better way to reduce the negative impacts to air and water quality.

2) This proposal provides the legislature with basic guidelines to regulate both large and small livestock facilities while allowing for exceptions. The legislature is allowed to distinguish between confined animal feeding and range feeding operations. Proven scientific information can be used to develop different regulations for the different types of operations.

Arguments Against

1) This measure does not provide any environmental protection. There is a difference in the environmental impacts produced by various types of livestock operations, and therefore, the state and local governments should be permitted to regulate different types of livestock independently. This measure could conflict with another 1998 ballot proposal that would regulate large, commercial hog facilities and the disposal of manure and wastewater from these facilities. Laws that apply to large and small livestock operators alike will impose additional regulatory burdens and could put several smaller livestock operations out of business. Furthermore, the broad requirements of the proposal make it difficult to determine how it will be applied and if it could undermine existing livestock operations.

2) Regulation of livestock operations should be addressed by changing the law or government rules, which can be revised as needed, rather than amending the state constitution, which can only be changed through another vote of the people. This proposal is unnecessary because laws regarding equal protection already ensure that those operations with similar impacts are treated similarly. Furthermore, a constitutional amendment could conflict with any future federal rules regarding confined animal feeding operations. It would be inefficient to have both the state and federal government enforcing laws regarding the same issue.

 

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