HB1175 - MISSOURI FENCE LAW - Tate, Phil
HB1175 REVISES FENCING LAW.
Sponsor: Tate, Phil (3) Effective Date: 01/01/98
CoSponsor: LR Number: 1877-01
Last Action: COMMITTEE: AGRICULTURE
01/23/96 - HCS Reported Do Pass (H)
HCS HB 1175, 1120 & 797
Next Hearing:Hearing not scheduled
Calendar:Bill currently not on calendar
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Available Bill Summaries for HB1175
| Committee | Introduced |

Available Bill Text for HB1175
| Committee | Introduced |

Available Fiscal Notes for HB1175

BILL SUMMARIES

COMMITTEE

HCS HB 1175, 1120 & 797 -- MISSOURI FENCE LAW

CO-SPONSORS:  Leake, Wiggins (Gratz)

COMMITTEE ACTION:  Voted "do pass" by the Committee on
Agriculture by a vote of 26 to 0.

This substitute establishes a new fence law which will apply
unless a county opts by vote to place itself under the general
fence law or the local option fence law in Chapter 272.

Under the fence law established by this substitute, a property
owner wishing to repair or build a lawful division fence must
give written notice of his intentions to the adjoining
landowner.  The landowners are required to meet within 30 days
of notice and each will construct or repair his portion of the
fence, each portion of equal value and to the right of each
owner as they face the fence at the midpoint from their
respective properties.  If the landowners cannot agree, either
may apply to an associate circuit judge who will summon 3
disinterested residents of the county to appear on the premises
and recommend to the judge the portion of the fence each
landowner is to repair or construct.  The associate circuit
judge will issue an order allocating the apportioned costs
between the parties and designating the portion of fence each
will construct or repair.

If emergency repair or maintenance of a lawful division fence
becomes necessary either landowner may make such repairs or
perform such maintenance in a cost effective and reasonable
manner.  If the adjoining landowner refuses to pay his portion
of such repair, either party may apply to the associate circuit
court judge who will follow the same procedures outlined for
general maintenance or construction.

All agreements or rulings of the associate circuit judge will be
recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds and bind the
makers, their heirs and assigns.

Existing agreements not consistent with an equal linear division
in the right-hand procedure must be in writing, recorded by the
recorder of deeds, and bind the makers, their heirs, and assigns.

If either party fails to construct or repair his portion of the
fence within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 120 days
from the date of notice, the other may petition to build or
repair the fence as directed by the court.  Upon court
authorization of such action the petitioner will be given a
judgment for that portion of the total costs of the lawful fence
chargeable to the other, court costs and reasonable legal fees.
Such judgment is a lien on the real estate of the other and has
priority over any other lien except as provided by law.

Other revisions include:

(1) A lawful fence must be at least 4 feet high and composed of
at least four strands of barbed wire with posts not to exceed 12
feet apart or not to exceed 16 feet apart with a "stay" or any
fence at least equivalent to these specifications;

(2) A person may build his or his neighbor's portion of a fence
in excess of lawful fence requirements;

(3) Landowners may agree no fence is needed between their
property;

(4) Livestock trespass upon the premises of another will be
heard by an associate circuit judge.  If damages and
compensation cannot be agreed upon, either party may institute
an action as in other civil cases; however, if the amount in
dispute is within the jurisdiction of small claims court, the
action may be instituted in small claims court;

(5) Persons are to keep their portion of a division fence in
good repair and may enter upon the land lying adjacent to theirs
for the purpose of repair and maintenance of the fence; and

(6) Any person aggrieved by any order or judgment of the
associate circuit court may have the order or judgment reviewed
by the appropriate court of appeals.

The provisions of this substitute do not apply to lands which
are participating in the forest stewardship program and the
forest crop land program, both of which are administered by the
Department of Conservation.

FISCAL NOTE:  No impact on state funds.

PROPONENTS:  Supporters say that this substitute clarifies the
current fence law, which contains two separate fence law
options, General and Local Option. Many counties are not certain
of which fence law applies to their county. This substitute
provides consistency, state-wide, and allows counties to opt out
of the new law and return to the old law if the residents of the
county vote to do so. The Missouri Farm Bureau testified that
its membership views fencing as a responsibility shared  by all
land owners. The Missouri Forest Products Association testified
that owners of forest crop land derive no benefit from fences
and should not be required to build or maintain them.

Testifying for HB 1175 were Representative Tate; and Missouri
Farm Bureau.  Testifying for HB 1120 were Representative
Hegeman; Missouri Farm Bureau; and Missouri Forest Products
Association.  Testifying for HB 797 were Representative Gratz;
and Missouri Farm Bureau.

OPPONENTS:  There was no opposition voiced to the committee.

Roland Tackett, Research Analyst


INTRODUCED

HB 1175 -- Missouri Fence Law (CORRECTED)

Sponsor:  Tate

This bill establishes a new fence law which will apply unless a
county opts by vote to place itself under the general fence law,
or the local option fence law in Chapter 272.

Under the fence law established by this bill, a property owner
wishing to repair or build a lawful division fence shall give
written notice of his intentions to the adjoining landowner.
The landowners are required to meet within thirty days of notice
and each shall construct or repair his portion of the fence,
each portion of equal value and to the right of each owner as
they face the fence at the midpoint from their respective
properties.  If the landowners cannot agree, either may apply to
an associate circuit judge who shall summon three disinterested
residents of the county to appear on the premises and recommend
to the judge the portion of the fence each landowner is to
repair or construct.  The associate circuit judge shall issue an
order allocating the apportioned costs between the parties and
designating the portion of fence each shall construct or repair.

If emergency repair or maintenance of a lawful division fence
becomes necessary either landowner may make such repairs or
perform such maintenance in a cost effective and reasonable
manner.  If the adjoining landowner refuses to pay his portion
of such repair, either party may apply to the associate circuit
court judge who shall follow the same procedures outlined for
general maintenance or construction.

All agreements or rulings of the associate circuit judge shall
be recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds and shall
bind the makers, their heirs and assigns.

Existing agreements not consistent with an equal linear division
in the right-hand procedure shall be in writing, recorded by the
recorder of deeds, and bind the makers, their heirs, and assigns.

If either party fails to construct or repair his portion of the
fence within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed one
hundred and twenty days from the date of notice, the other may
petition to build or repair the fence as directed by the court.
Upon court authorization of such action the petitioner shall be
given a judgment for that portion of the total costs of the
lawful fence chargeable to the other, court costs and reasonable
legal fees.  Such judgment shall be a lien on the real estate of
the other and shall have priority over any other lien except as
provided by law.

Other revisions include:

(1) A lawful fence shall at a minimum be at least four feet high
and composed of at least four strands of barbed wire with posts
not to exceed twelve feet apart or not to exceed sixteen feet
apart with a "stay" or any fence at least equivalent to these
specifications;

(2) A person may build his or his neighbor's portion of a fence
in excess of lawful fence requirements;

(3) Landowners may agree no fence is needed between their
property;

(4) Livestock trespass upon the premises of another shall be
heard by an associate circuit judge.  If damages and
compensation cannot be agreed upon, either party may institute
an action as in other civil cases; however, if the amount in
dispute is within the jurisdiction of small claims court, the
action may be instituted in small claims court;

(5) Persons are to keep their portion of a division fence in
good repair and may enter upon the land lying adjacent to theirs
for the purpose of repair and maintenance of the fence; and

(6) Any person aggrieved by any order or judgment of the
associate circuit court may have the order or judgment reviewed
by the appropriate court of appeals.


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