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Iowa lawmakers push new Ag-Gag bill

This statute is unconstitutional and we’ve done five of these suits and we’re prepared to do a sixth, said Matthew Liebman, the ALDF director of litigation.

DAVID PITT: ‘Just two months after a federal court judge struck down an Iowa law meant to discourage investigations of animal abuse on farms, lawmakers are pushing another so-called ag-gag measure that opponents say would likely land the state in court again… The new bill would create a trespass charge for those who use deception to gain access to a farm to cause physical or economic harm, with a penalty of up to a year in jail. It also allows for a conspiracy charge that carries a similar penalty…

Lawmakers said they studied Judge James Gritzner’s Jan. 9 ruling and drafted this legislation to make it similar to laws in other states that have been upheld by courts. “They worked very hard to make sure they crafted a bill that at least in some other states have passed muster in their courts,” said House Speaker Linda Upmeyer. “We tried to stay very focused on biosecurity and keep it very tightly reined in so that it would withstand a court inspection”. Sen. Ken Rozenboom said producers are concerned about animal diseases being introduced to farms by an undercover investigator, and Iowa needs to have a way to discourage them…

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, one of the groups that sued the state over the 2012 law and has fought similar laws in several farm states, criticized Iowa lawmakers for pushing forward with another bill. “This statute is unconstitutional and we’ve done five of these suits and we’re prepared to do a sixth,” said Matthew Liebman, the group’s director of litigation. “We’d much rather this doesn’t pass and we could save our resources for other cases that protect animals but these things are a true threat to public information and animal welfare”.’ SOURCE…

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