Lawmakers pondering 'ag gag' bill

GREENFIELD — Local lawmakers are closely watching bills that could affect Hancock County’s agricultural community.

Sen. Mike Crider and Rep. Bob Cherry wrapped up their second week in the state Legislature with their own bills assigned to committees and plenty of studying ahead on issues that will come up for debate in coming weeks.

And since the Greenfield Republicans represent many farmers, they say they’re keeping an open mind to legislation that could impact their constituents.

One, the so-called “ag gag” bill, would allow farmers to post signs prohibiting trespassing that could compromise operations or trade secrets. Proponents say the bill protects agricultural operations; opponents have raised red flags about First Amendment rights, because the measure is aimed in part at people who make photographs or record video of farming operations. The impetus for similar bills in other states is the efforts of animal activists who have sought to document practices on farms.

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