Doing just what they say no one else should do, Republicans State Rep. Mark Honadel wants to pick winners and losers, holding electric providers harmless in the courts.
WKOW: Republican state lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would protect electric companies from stray voltage lawsuits.
Some farmers, like Steve Bollant, have successfully sued electric providers for damages resulting from stray voltage on their farms.
Bollant, a Grant County dairy farmer, says his farm would have been bankrupt if he hadn't won a lawsuit filed against Scenic Rivers for damages. Bollant says stray voltage from old power lines killed dozens of cows and cut milk production in half. In 2010, a jury found Scenic Rivers liable for damages and ordered them to pay Bollant $5 million. "If we never would have won that case, we wouldn't be milking here today."
You won’t believe the excuse Republicans are using to “pick winners and losers.” Oh, and of course they’re protecting consumers (taxpayers):
The legislators say lawsuits involving stray voltage are too costly and those costs are passed on to the customers. Assembly Bill 257 would still allow farmers to file lawsuits, but only if they can prove recklessness or malicious intent. In any other situation, lawmakers believe state regulations provide enough protection.
Republican Rep. Mark Honadel says he was raised on a dairy farm and understands how difficult it can be, but says the costs for the rest of the electric providers' customers are just too high.
A farmer would have to prove an electric company meant to kill his cows. Would I kid you? Good luck with that.