The Indiana legislature has failed to pass S.B. 373, so called “ag-gag” bill, which would have criminalised the taking of photos at farms or slaughterhouses and publishing them in an attempt to hurt the business.
The bill was passed in the Senate on the 26th of April, but when it was sent to the House Democrats said that the Senate version was a “gag all” bill. Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma pulled the bill from the calendar and did not allow another vote.
However, this is not the end of the bill. Bosma said that the issue is one of the most important the legislature should study this summer. “There’s clearly a need for protection from outside influences in regard to the ag industry,” he says. “The question is the best remedy and one that doesn’t run afoul of the First Amendment.”
Hoosier Environmental Council Senior Policy Director Tim Maloney says he is not sure that is possible.
“If that is their intent – to make it a very wide-ranging law that simply seeks to keep the public from knowing what’s going on at these operations – I’m not sure that can pass constitutional muster,” he says.
But Maloney says his organization is prepared to fight the battle over the issue again next session.
The ag-gag bill also failed to be passed in California. The bill’s author, Jim Patterson, a Republican from Fresno pulled it before it went to the vote.