July 20, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Legislation finalizes raw milk free speech win in court

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Got raw milk?

If you produce it, you can now advertise it wherever you wish. Governor Kelly recently signed into law Senate Bill 346, removing the final prohibitions on off-farm advertising of raw milk products.

The new law follows a landmark 2019 court victory which ended a more-than-50-year ban on advertising raw milk away from the farm.

The case was successfully argued by Kansas Justice Institute on behalf of Ellis County goat dairy farmers Mark and Coraleen Bonner of Pfeifer. The team’s winning argument was that banning off-farm advertising; the couple couldn’t even distribute fliers at the library or in church was an unconstitutional ban of their First Amendment rights.

Coraleen Bunner crystallized her family farm’s position during the court case:

”It’s frustrating not to be able to talk about our product. We work hard, our animals work hard, and we want the freedom to talk about our product off our farm.”

The Shawnee County District Court agreed, but state statutes still contained language banning advertising of unpasteurized products. The legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and Senate, leading to the governor’s endorsement.

KJI Litigation Director Sam MacRoberts applauded the legislature and governor in a statement:

Sam MacRoberts, litigation director for the Kansas Justice Institute

”I’m pleased everyone understood the importance of our free-speech case by cleaning up the unconstitutional language. This was an important and necessary step in making sure people have the right to talk about their work. The government’s ban on off-farm speech was totally inappropriate.”

The new law reads that advertisement of raw milk and its products cannot be misleading and must let consumers know on the label that the milk is raw and unpasteurized.

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