Bill Text: NY A06930 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes a dairy farmers' bill of rights; specifies prohibited unfair trade practices which have the purpose of intentionally impairing a producer's freedom to bargain collectively with other producers in the marketing of the producer's product; provides that the commissioner of the department of agriculture and markets shall take action to restrain such violations upon the application of an association of producers; increases the limit on damages for encouraging or permitting delivery of products in violation of marketing agreements.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 7-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-27 - referred to agriculture [A06930 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A06930-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          6930
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                     March 27, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced  by M. of A. FINCH, CROUCH, KOLB, GIGLIO, BLANKENBUSH, HAWLEY
          -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. BARCLAY -- read once and referred to
          the Committee on Agriculture
        AN ACT to amend the agriculture and  markets  law  and  the  cooperative
          corporations law, in relation to establishing a dairy farmers' bill of
          rights
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The agriculture and markets law is amended  by  adding  two
     2  new sections 256-c and 256-d to read as follows:
     3    §  256-c.  Dairy  farmers' bill of rights; declaration of policy.  The
     4  expressed intent of the agriculture and markets law and  the  policy  of
     5  this  state  is  to  foster  and encourage the marketing of milk through
     6  producer owned and controlled cooperatives.  The  orderly  marketing  of
     7  milk for the benefit of farmers, milk dealers, and consumers is enhanced
     8  when  milk  producers are free to make an independent uncoerced decision
     9  regarding their participation in cooperative associations, as authorized
    10  by state and federal law.   Interference in the exercise  of  this  free
    11  right of choice is contrary to the public interest. For this reason, the
    12  legislature  finds  that  the  public  interest requires that there be a
    13  specification of  prohibited  unfair  trade  practices  which  have  the
    14  purpose  of  intentionally  impairing  a  producer's  freedom to bargain
    15  collectively with other producers in the  marketing  of  the  producer's
    16  product.
    17    For  purposes  of  this  section, (i) an "association of producers" or
    18  "cooperative" shall mean  any  corporation  or  association  of  persons
    19  engaged  in  the production of milk and operating for the mutual benefit
    20  of its members in conformity with the requirement of the Capper-Volstead
    21  act, and any federation of such corporations or associations, or of such
    22  corporations, associations, and individual producers, and (ii) an  asso-
    23  ciation of producers shall not be considered to be a milk dealer.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD05537-01-9

        A. 6930                             2
     1    §  256-d. Unfair practices by dealers. 1. It shall be unlawful for any
     2  milk dealer or any of its officers, managers, agents,  or  employees  to
     3  intentionally  impair  a producer's freedom to join or to participate in
     4  an association of producers or cooperative by:
     5    (a)  coercing,  through  threat of injury to person or property, or to
     6  health, safety, business or financial condition, reputation or  personal
     7  relationships  any  producer in the exercise of his or her right to join
     8  and belong to an association of producers or cooperative;
     9    (b) soliciting or requesting any producer to breach a marketing agree-
    10  ment or other contractual agreement between the producer and an  associ-
    11  ation of producers or cooperative;
    12    (c)  making  a loan or gift of money, or of anything else of value, or
    13  offering to make such a loan or gift for the specific purpose of  induc-
    14  ing a producer to refuse or cease to belong to an association of produc-
    15  ers or cooperative;
    16    (d) refusing to deal with any producer, because of the exercise of the
    17  producer's  right  to  join and belong to an association of producers or
    18  cooperative;
    19    (e) making false reports about the finances or management of an  asso-
    20  ciation  of producers or other milk dealers in reckless disregard of the
    21  truth or knowing that such statements are untrue and  that  there  is  a
    22  reasonable  likelihood  that  such  statements  will impair a producer's
    23  right to make an independent decision to belong  to  an  association  of
    24  producers or cooperative; and
    25    (f)  conspiring,  combining,  agreeing,  or  arranging  with any other
    26  person to do, or aid and abet the doing of, any  act  made  unlawful  by
    27  this section.
    28    2.  For purposes of this section: (a) an "association of producers" or
    29  "cooperative" shall mean  any  corporation  or  association  of  persons
    30  engaged  in  the production of milk and operating for the mutual benefit
    31  of its members in conformity with the requirements  of  the  Capper-Vol-
    32  stead  act,  and any federation of such corporations or associations, or
    33  of such corporations, associations, and individual producers, and (b) an
    34  association of producers shall not be considered to be a milk dealer.
    35    3. Nothing in this section is intended to prevent  bargaining  between
    36  milk  dealers and producers or associations of producers with respect to
    37  price or any other terms of purchase or handling of milk in a course  of
    38  dealing  not  proscribed  by this section, nor to prevent producers from
    39  requiring that payment be made through an association  of  producers  or
    40  cooperative.
    41    4. Whenever the commissioner has reason to believe a violation of this
    42  section  has  occurred,  the  commissioner  may  commence  such judicial
    43  action, or institute such investigation or proceeding and issue an order
    44  based thereon, as is provided by this article or article three  of  this
    45  chapter;  provided,  however, that the commissioner shall take no action
    46  against a milk dealer under section two hundred  fifty-eight-c  of  this
    47  article  for  conduct  which  is a violation of this section unless such
    48  dealer is at the time of such conduct subject to a final  administrative
    49  or  judicial  order  which  prohibits  such  conduct by such dealer; and
    50  provided further that nothing contained in this section shall impair  or
    51  delay the private right of action created by section seventy-four of the
    52  cooperative corporations law for any violation of that section.
    53    § 2. Section 74 of the cooperative corporations law is amended to read
    54  as follows:
    55    §  74. Liability for damages for encouraging or permitting delivery of
    56  products in violation of marketing agreements.    Any  person,  firm  or

        A. 6930                             3
     1  corporation who solicits or persuades or aids or abets any member of any
     2  cooperative corporation incorporated under or subject to this chapter to
     3  breach  his  marketing  contract  with  the  corporation by accepting or
     4  receiving  such  member's products for sale, marketing, manufacturing or
     5  processing thereof contrary to the terms of any marketing  agreement  of
     6  which said person or any officer [or], manager, agent or employee of the
     7  said  corporation  has knowledge or notice, shall be liable in the penal
     8  sum of [one hundred]  not  more  than  ten  thousand  dollars  for  each
     9  contract,  to  the cooperative corporation aggrieved in a civil suit for
    10  damages; and such  cooperative  corporation  shall  be  entitled  to  an
    11  injunction  against  such person, firm or corporation to prevent further
    12  breaches.
    13    § 3.  This act shall take effect immediately.
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