State senator to rework farm photography proposal

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A state senator says he wants to address First Amendment concerns with a proposal to restrict undercover photography on farms.

State Sen. Mike Brubaker, R-Lancaster, announced this month that he would unveil legislation outlawing videotaping or photographing on a farm without the owner's permission, unless the recordings target animal abuse and are shared exclusively with the police.

The proposal was protested by the Humane Society of the United States, which conducts undercover investigations purporting to show abuse of animals on farms.

After the Tennessee attorney general last week released an opinion finding potential First Amendment problems with related legislation there, Mr. Brubaker said he understood there were concerns with his own proposal.

"That's why my legislation has not been introduced to date, as I wanted to have the opportunity to improve upon the language," he said in a statement. "To that end, I will continue to work with interested parties to address any First Amendment concerns and will circulate an updated co-sponsorship memo when the proposal is ready."

The Tennessee bill would require someone who makes visual recordings to show cruelty against livestock to submit unedited photographs or video recordings to law enforcement within 48 hours or by the close of the next business day. The proposal Mr. Brubaker described would include no deadline for delivering materials to the police.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday cited the state attorney general's opinion in announcing he would veto the legislaton there. Mr. Brubaker noted in a statement that his proposal is not identical, but said he will continue working to address First Amendment concerns.

electionspa - state

Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com


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