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House Speaker Pulls “Ag-Gag” Bill Before Vote

What began with theatrics on the House floor Friday ended with legislation aimed at cracking down on activists taking defaming photos and video at farms and factories killed in the Senate. While the bill is dead for now its author says he plans to reintroduce the issue next year.

The so-called “ag-gag” bill was initially intended to criminalize scenarios such as animal rights activists taking photos at farms or slaughterhouses and publishing them in an attempt to hurt the business. An expanded version developed by House and Senate sponsors into a conference committee report, which critics charged was blatantly unconstitutional, passed the Senate.

But as Democrats on the House floor railed against the bill, Speaker Brian Bosma stepped in and withdrew the conference committee report.

With that, Bosma halted the expanded version. Bosma says he withdrew the report to urge the Senate to agree to an older House version, which essentially only dealt with employee application fraud and clarified criminal trespassing.

But Senator Travis Holdman (R-Markle), the bill’s author, opted not to advance the bill any further.

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