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Committee strips down, passes ag-gag bill

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A Senate committee watered down a bill Tuesday that was meant to stop secret videography and photography of farming operations.

Senate Bill 101 – previously known as the ag-gag bill – originally created a crime called “agricultural mischief.”

But, after facing harsh opposition, Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, amended the bill to limit the crime to property damage and criminal trespassing.

“Basically what we’re doing is striking most of the portions or all of the portions that have to do with mischief that are in the bill,” Holdman said. “We get down to just the trespass issue.”

The amendment reduces the crime to trespassing and property damage as long as the property owner posts signs warning away trespassers.

The bill would also clarify the definition of criminal trespassing.

Non-criminal examples include someone asking for directions or a Girl Scout selling cookies.

Holdman said several organizations that were originally against the bill – including the Hoosier State Press Association – no longer opposed it with the amended language.

“Since I’ve fought very hard against this bill in different versions, I appreciate the fact that Sen. Holdman has worked with opponents and people who were critical of parts of the bill to correct it and turned it into something that has some value,” said Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington.

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  • ??
    Are these not already crimes? Why do we need this redundant legislation. Just kill the damn thing and move on.
  • Interest
    Perhaps, we need to step back to consider a couple of things here. Which PAC's or lobbyist groups are funding the legislators backing this waste of time, and, as was pointed out earlier, if we already have criminal trespass laws on the books, why waste the time and effort, not to mention the vast resources of pursuing this asinine legislation? Oh, wait, this is a lot like the marriage equality bill, isn't it? Let's just make sure no one can ever question our position...
  • What is the point of this?
    I am continually disappointed with the wasted efforts of our local government. I thought Republicans were for LESS government. This is a waste of taxpayer's money. We need to elect new people. People who will concentrate on real issues in our state. Jobs. Education. Public Safety.
  • Sigh
    More time wasting by Republicans. When will they deal with the real issues facing our state??
  • supermajority
    Well gay marriage isn't legal in Indiana either, and they are still spending how much time and effort on a Constitutional Amendment (that will be struck down but the Supreme Court anyway). So...
  • so...
    I thought it was already illegal to damage another person's property, or to trespass on land with a posted "no trespassing" sign? What is the point of this legislation?

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