Just weeks after undercover footage revealed disturbing animal cruelty at an Idaho dairy farm, the state has pushed forward a bill to prevent activists from taking footage of animal abuse inside facilities. The measure, dubbed an "ag-gag" law, is Senate Bill 1337, and would make it a crime to photograph or videotape abusive, unsanitary or otherwise unethical activity on a farm in Idaho.
The bill passed in House on Wednesday afternoon with a near party-line split of 56-14, after the Senate backed it 23-10 earlier this month, says AP. Now, the bill is headed for Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's desk. Heavily lobbied for by Idaho's dairy industry, proponents of the bill say they want to protect the property rights of agriculture operations' owners.
Others contend that jailing people for exposing illegal acts is a violation of the First Amendment. Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, told AP:
"The answer is not to imprison the people who are criticizing you. This would put agriculture in a very unique position to enforce and really shut down the collection of information that they didn't like. It gives them an incredible hammer to lock someone up for a year for taking information they're not supposed to take."