Mississippi farmers, ranchers and rural residents could see some changes in people’s ability to sue property owners for injuries or other problems.

Senate Bill 2901, also known as the Landlord Protection Act, passed Thursday by a 32-17 vote. It was held for the possibility of more debate.

The bill says a person who owns, leases, operates or manages property could not be held liable for injuries caused by someone else on the property unless there’s proof that the person in charge knew about possible harm and let it happen.

“Property rights are an essential component of farming in Mississippi,” Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick said. “We fully support the passage of the Landlord Protection Act for our members and all farmers, ranchers and rural citizens in Mississippi.”

Supporters say Mississippi’s current law is unfair because it prohibits judges or jurors from assigning partial fault for a harmful action to the criminal or other third party who performs the action.

Under the proposed change, judges and juries could say someone suffered $100,000 in damages, but the property owner is only 10 percent liable, meaning the property owner would pay less.

In addition to passing the Landlord Protection Act, the Senate unanimously passed their version of the “fake meat” bill, led through by Senate Agriculture Chairman Billy Hudson and Senator Jenifer Branning.

“We appreciate how diligently and efficiently the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have worked this session,” McCormick said. “The bills passed are the kinds of positive legislation we are happy to see from our friends at the Mississippi Capitol.”

Since Tuesday was the deadline for bills to pass out of committee, any general bill that did not pass then is dead for the year. The House went from 1589 bills to 461 bills. The Senate went from 965 bills to 254 bills.

In other business:

  • The House Forestry Committee introduced Russell Bozeman as the new state forester.
  • Mississippi 4-H hosted several statewide elected officials and legislators to an appreciation luncheon on Wednesday.
  • Several statewide elected officials, along with MFBF President Mike McCormick, participated in the Dixie National Livestock Show & Rodeo Sale of Champions on Thursday to support the future of Mississippi agriculture.