As expected, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has signed into law a bill that bans agricultural production facility fraud. With the approval of the bill, Iowa became the nation’s first state to approve legislation intending to criminalize individuals who gain access to facilities under false pretenses. Branstad signed the bill Friday, March 2.
Iowa Senator Joe Seng, a bill sponsor, believes the bill does not infringe on personal rights, a key complaint by those who opposed the bill’s passage. Seng made the comments in an interview with Mike Adams, host of AgriTalk Radio.
“The bill has been run through the (Iowa) Attorney General’s office and checked completely by a constitutional lawyer who said it does not violate any of our First Amendment rights,” said Seng, chair of the Iowa Agriculture Committee and vice-chair of the Ways and Means Committee.
The bipartisan bill does not prohibit taking videos or photographs on farms.“The bill should be a good template for the rest of the United States,” according to Seng. “I call it the agriculture protection bill.”
The new law specifies that “A person is guilty of agricultural production facility fraud if the person willfully does any of the following: a. Obtains access to an agricultural production facility by false pretenses. b. Makes a false statement or representation as part of an application or agreement to be employed at an agricultural production facility, if the person knows the statement to be false, and makes the statement with an intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner of the agricultural production facility, knowing that the act is not authorized.”
Similar legislation is being considered for adoption in other states including Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York and Utah.
Meanwhile, animal activist groups have said that the new law will not stop their efforts to record videos of animal production methods they deem cruel.