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Committee continues hearing on ‘ag-gag’ bill Tuesday

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The Corrections and Criminal Law Committee will hear six bills Tuesday, including controversial legislation concerning trespassing on agricultural land.

Senate Bill 101 expands the criminal trespass statute by making it a crime to knowingly or intentionally enter the real property of another person without that person’s consent. The bill allows agricultural operators to post a notice that lists prohibited acts that may compromise the operation’s trade secrets or operations. Someone who intentionally or knowingly commits an act at the agricultural operation that is prohibited and listed on that notice commits a Level 6 felony.

The penalty for criminal trespass is raised if certain levels of pecuniary loss result from the criminal trespass.

This is a version of the controversial legislation from 2013 dubbed the “ag-gag bill” that died on the last day of the session. Several groups, including the Hoosier State Press Association and the Hoosier Environmental Council, oppose the bill, believing it is intended to stifle the expression of opinions concerning agricultural processes. The legislation would silence or punish individuals who want to share photos, videos or opinions on how agribusinesses operate and their impact on food safety, employee safety, animal treatment, and other issues, according to the HSPA.

Members of the agricultural community, such as the Indiana Pork Advocacy Coalition, support the legislation

The committee previously discussed the bill at its meeting Jan. 7.
The committee will also hear:

•    SB 169, which outlines when providing a firearm to someone is a Level 6 felony, such as buying a gun with the intent to resell it to someone with the belief that the gun will be used in the commission of a crime.

•    SB 134, which makes it a Level 6 felony for a person to file a false lien or false encumbrance against another person.

•    SB 43 on child seduction and law enforcement officers.

•    SB 170 on sexual misconduct by a service provider with someone who is subject to lawful supervision by the Department of Correction, a court, a probation department, or a community corrections or transition program, or another similar program.

•    SB 251, which amends the law to make it a Level 6 felony to  recklessly, knowingly or intentionally fail to restrain a dog that enters the property of another person, attacks that person, and the attack results in serious bodily injury. Currently, it’s a Level 6 felony only if that attack results in death.
 

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