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Serving: IN

'Ag Gag' Bill Stalled In Indiana General Assembly

'Ag Gag' Bill Stalled In Indiana General Assembly
Bill would have protected farms from unauthorized videotaping, photography

The Indiana legislature adjourned Saturday without passing S.B. 373, a bill to disallow unauthorized videotaping and photography on farming operations.

The bill failed to pass in the last day of the session after being pulled for consideration by the House. Constituents had raised concerns over the bill's potential influence on First Amendment rights.

Elements of the bill would have strengthened the state's criminal trespass code to protect businesses from persons who intentionally enter private property to commit an act with the intent to harm any business on that property.

Bill would have protected farms from unauthorized videotaping, photography

The bill also would have provided legal protection from prospective employees who knowingly or intentionally submit fraudulent statements or conceal material facts on job applications.

The Indiana Farm Bureau said Monday it was "disappointed" with the outcome, but thanked Indiana Sens. Holdman and Steele and Reps. Friend, Lehe and Steuerwald for their efforts in crafting the bill.

"Indiana farmers and businesses who conduct themselves according to the highest ethical and professional standards are often targets of those who seek to disparage their business activity. The proposed additions to current Indiana code would have helped keep Indiana businesses from becoming such targets," an IFB statement noted.

Opponents of the bill, the Humane Society of the United States, said the bill was an attempt at protecting animal ag from public scrutiny.

"We applaud Indiana's legislature for recognizing the folly of this dangerous bill and urge lawmakers in states with similar bills pending to follow Indiana's lead and reject them," Erin Huang, Indiana state director for HSUS, said.

Similar bills are in place in Iowa and Utah and are being considered in other states.

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