Livingston County’s Health Ordinance
Due to legislation passed by the Missouri Legislature in 2019, a health ordinance for Livingston County is now in question. Livingston County Presiding Commissioner Ed Douglas says it is still valid and remains in place.
Since 1997, Livingston County has had a health ordinance and it was amended in 2009. The health ordinance states that “the adoption and enforcement of said standards is hereby found to be necessary to enhance the public health and prevent the entrance of infectious, contagious, communicable or dangerous diseases into Livingston County.” This Health Ordinance regulates Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (or “CAFO’s”).
In 2019, the Missouri State Legislature passed Senate Bill 391 which states that Counties like ours cannot have Health Ordinances with standards that are inconsistent with or stricter than certain State statutes and regulations, which are primarily those of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This law went into effect in August of last year
Douglas says the commission believes Livingston County’s ordinance complies, but they are in the process of doing its due diligence. That includes hiring an engineer to oversee compliance with our standards under our current Health Ordinance and receiving approval from the Department of Natural Resources.
Douglas says the issue has become complicated by the fact that there is a lawsuit filed by another County in Missouri, that is trying to overturn Senate Bill 391 as either being unconstitutional and or saying that Counties like ours should be grandfathered in. That lawsuit has not been completed.
In the meantime, Douglas says the commissioners are processing any CAFO application that are filed and simultaneously keeping our eye on this lawsuit regarding Senate Bill 391. Based on the result of the lawsuit the Livingston County Commission plans to request legal opinions on what the County’s next step should be.