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  H.B. No. 2308
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to nuisance actions and other actions against agricultural
  operations.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 251.001, Agriculture Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 251.001.  POLICY.  Food security being essential, it
  [It] is the policy of this state to conserve, protect, and encourage
  the development and improvement of its agricultural land for the
  production of food and other agricultural products. It is the
  purpose of this chapter to reduce the loss to the state of its
  agricultural resources by limiting the circumstances under which
  agricultural operations may be legally threatened, subject to suit,
  regulated, or otherwise declared [considered] to be a nuisance.
         SECTION 2.  Section 251.002(1), Agriculture Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
               (1)  "Agricultural operation" includes the following
  activities:
                     (A)  cultivating the soil;
                     (B)  producing crops or growing vegetation for
  human food, animal feed, livestock forage, forage for wildlife
  management, planting seed, or fiber;
                     (C)  floriculture;
                     (D)  viticulture;
                     (E)  horticulture;
                     (F)  silviculture;
                     (G)  wildlife management;
                     (H)  raising or keeping livestock or poultry,
  including veterinary services; and
                     (I)  planting cover crops or leaving land idle for
  the purpose of participating in any governmental program or normal
  crop or livestock rotation procedure.
         SECTION 3.  Sections 251.003, 251.004, and 251.006,
  Agriculture Code, are amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 251.003.  ESTABLISHED DATE OF OPERATION. For purposes
  of this chapter, the established date of operation is the date on
  which an agricultural operation commenced agricultural operations
  [operation.  If the physical facilities of the agricultural
  operation are subsequently expanded, the established date of
  operation for each expansion is a separate and independent
  established date of operation established as of the date of
  commencement of the expanded operation, and the commencement of
  expanded operation does not divest the agricultural operation of a
  previously established date of operation].
         Sec. 251.004.  NUISANCE OR OTHER ACTIONS. (a) No nuisance
  action or other action to restrain an agricultural operation may be
  brought against an agricultural operation that has lawfully been in
  operation and substantially unchanged for one year or more prior to
  the date on which the action is brought.  A person who brings a
  nuisance action or other action to restrain an agricultural
  operation that is not prohibited by this section must establish
  each element of the action by clear and convincing evidence [, if
  the conditions or circumstances complained of as constituting the
  basis for the nuisance action have existed substantially unchanged
  since the established date of operation].  This subsection does not
  restrict or impede the authority of this state or a political
  subdivision to [protect the public health, safety, and welfare or
  the authority of a municipality to] enforce state law, including an
  enforcement action by the Texas Commission on Environmental
  Quality.  For the purposes of this subsection, a substantial change
  to an agricultural operation means a material alteration to the
  operation of or type of production at an agricultural operation
  that is substantially inconsistent with the operational practices
  since the established date of operation.
         (b)  A person who brings a nuisance action or other action to
  restrain an agricultural operation and seeks [for] damages or
  injunctive relief against an agricultural operation that has
  existed for one year or more prior to the date that the action is
  instituted or who violates the provisions of Subsection (a) [of
  this section] is liable to the agricultural operator for:
               (1)  all costs and expenses incurred in defense of the
  action, including [but not limited to] attorney's fees, court
  costs, travel, and other related incidental expenses incurred in
  the defense; and
               (2)  any other damages found by the trier of fact.
         (c)  This section does not affect or defeat the right of any
  person to recover for injuries or damages sustained because of an
  agricultural operation or portion of an agricultural operation that
  is conducted in violation of a federal, state, or local statute or
  governmental requirement that applies to the agricultural
  operation or portion of an agricultural operation.
         Sec. 251.006.  AGRICULTURAL IMPROVEMENTS. (a) An owner,
  lessee, or occupant of agricultural land is not liable to the state,
  a governmental unit, or the owner, lessee, or occupant of other
  agricultural land for the construction or maintenance on the land
  of an agricultural improvement if the construction is not expressly
  prohibited by statute or a governmental requirement adopted in
  accordance with Section 251.005 in effect at the time the
  improvement is constructed. Such an improvement does not
  constitute a nuisance and is not otherwise subject to suit or
  injunction.
         (b)  [This section does not apply to an improvement that
  obstructs the flow of water, light, or air to other land.] This
  section does not prevent the enforcement of a state or federal
  statute [or governmental requirement to protect public health or
  safety].
         (c)  In this section:
               (1)  "Agricultural land" includes:
                     (A)  any land the use of which qualifies the land
  for appraisal based on agricultural use as defined under Subchapter
  D, Chapter 23, Tax Code; and
                     (B)  any other land on which agricultural
  operations exist or may take place.
               (2)  "Agricultural improvement" includes pens, barns,
  fences, arenas, and other improvements designed for:
                     (A)  the sheltering, restriction, or feeding of
  animal or aquatic life;
                     (B)  [, for] storage of produce or feed; [,] or
                     (C)  [for] storage or maintenance of:
                           (i)  implements used for management
  functions; or
                           (ii)  equipment necessary to carry out
  agricultural operations.
         SECTION 4.  Chapter 251, Agriculture Code, is amended by
  adding Section 251.008 to read as follows:
         Sec. 251.008.  CONFLICT WITH OTHER LAW. If there is a
  conflict between this chapter and other law, this chapter prevails. 
         SECTION 5.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only to
  a cause of action that accrues on or after the effective date of
  this Act.  A cause of action that accrued before the effective date
  of this Act is governed by the law applicable to the cause of action
  immediately before the effective date of this Act, and that law is
  continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2023.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2308 was passed by the House on April
  11, 2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 142, Nays 1, 1 present, not
  voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
  No. 2308 on May 8, 2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 139, Nays 0, 1
  present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2308 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 4, 2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays 1.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor