Legislature votes to target ‘false speech’ aimed at farmers

Agricultural Concept

Des Moines, Iowa -The Iowa House and Senate have approved a bill that establishes a new penalty for people who inflict financial harm on a farm with undercover videos or attacks on livestock or crops.

 

That’s Senator Ken Rozenboom, a Republican from Oskaloosa.

Rozenboom says the bill targets people who use deception to get onto a farm.

 

The legislation is designed to go into effect immediately. A spokesman for Governor Reynolds says she intends to sign the bill, but will review it in its final form first.

Critics say there are already laws against trespassing and warn a lawsuit will be filed to block the new law just as a similar state law passed seven years ago has been tied up in court.

Representative Liz Bennett, a Democrat from Waterloo, says the bill seeks to silence whistle-blowers and consumer advocates.

 

Representative Sharon Stockman, a Democrat from Mason City, says the state has already spent a lot of money trying to defend a 2012 law on the same subject.

 

Backers of this new bill say it matches part of an Idaho law that was recently upheld in federal court. The bill passed the House on a 65-to-32 vote Tuesday afternoon. It passed the House Tuesday morning by an even wider margin of 41-to-8.