INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana General Assembly failed to pass a bill that would have outlawed undercover videotaping on all private property, whether it be a farm or a business.
House Speaker Brian Bosma withdrew SB 373 without comment, according to local news reports.
During negotiations between the legislative chambers, Senate Bill 373 was broadened to criminalize taking surreptitious videos or photos on all private property. The bill drew national attention from animal-rights organizations, labor unions and other groups who claimed the bill protects wrongdoers and punishes whistleblowers. Agriculture groups, such as the Indiana Farm Bureau, said SB 373 protects private-property rights and keeps businesses from being defamed by overzealous activists.
“Clearly, the intent of SB373 was to protect animal agribusiness from public scrutiny by criminalizing whistleblowers and those who expose animal abuse on industrial operations,” said Erin Huang, Indiana state director for The HSUS. “We applaud Indiana’s legislature for recognizing the folly of this dangerous bill and urge lawmakers in states with similar bills pending to follow Indiana's lead and reject them.”
Among other things, the bill allowed people to avoid prosecution in exchange for submitting pictures or video to law enforcement or a regulatory agency within five days.