Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs Ag-Gag law to prosecute ag facility ‘trespass’

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law on March 14 that would criminally charge  investigators who intend to harm agricultural facilities, according to the bill.

The Ag-Gag bill, SF 519, will charge people who commit "agricultural production facility trespass" with a serious misdemeanor for the first offense and an aggravated misdemeanor for the second.

This kind of trespass is defined in the bill as someone who uses deception "with the intent to cause physical or economic harm or other injury" to an agricultural facility.

Critics of the bill say this law will hurt those who are trying to expose puppy mills and slaughter houses.

"We are deeply disappointed that despite fierce opposition from the public, Iowa has enacted a new Ag-Gag law," Stephen Wells, executive director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said in a statement. "Exposing horrific abuses... inevitably damages a business' reputation."

Supporters of the bill say it will protect business owners from unfair persecution and bad intentions.

A previous bill, HF 589, made it a crime for someone to get access to an agricultural production facility for false reasons. It was struck down on Jan. 9, 2019 for violating the First Amendment.

The new Ag-Gag bill passed both the Iowa house and senate by a wide majority.

Related: Iowa lawmakers pass bill that would prosecute undercover puppy mill investigators

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.