State legislator says bill that would outlaw undercover farm videos will not advance

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Still frame from PETA video

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington lawmaker says a bill to outlaw undercover farm videos doesn’t have enough support to advance.

House Public Safety Committee Chairman Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, presided over a hearing Tuesday where the so-called ‘ag-gag bill’ drew wide-ranging criticism. Hours later, the Democrat said he was going to make sure the measure didn’t go beyond the panel.

Republican Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, says he wrote the bill to extend the same privacy protections to his fellow farmers’ businesses that they have in their homes.

But critics have argued that the bill would trample on free speech rights, cover up abusive farm practices and deter whistle-blowers.

A bill by a farmer-legislator that would make it a criminal act to make audio or video recordings of a farm’s practices without the landowner’s written consent is being considered by the state House.

Laws similar to the proposal have passed in several states and are the subject of pending lawsuits in Utah and Idaho.

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2 comments

  • Don

    That would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. Farms and ranches are businesses, and aside from safety issues their practices should be in the public domain. I don’t see anybody asking for protection for rock pits or auto body shops or hair salons. As the police so love to tell you “If you don’t have anything to hide, you have nothing to worry about”. What is is they’re trying to hide about your food supply? And no, I’m not a member of PETA nor a vegetarian, but I do like to know where my meat and taters are coming from and what else is in them. The nanny state wants to protect you from yourself, but won’t lift a finger against the Ag and meat industries.