Kentucky Legislature Weighs "Ag-Gag" Bill

April 2, 2014

Kentucky is the latest state to consider legislation criminalizing undercover photography of animal abuse in farm operations. Such so-called "Ag-Gag" bills are aimed at stopping exposés of inhumane practices that often end up as news stories.

Kentucky's Senate voted March 28, 2014, to approve such a bill. But Democratic Rep. Joni Jenkins, who sponsored the measure to which the Senate attached the Ag-Gag language, says she won't call it up in the House. With few days left in the legislative session, that could kill the bill.

At least five states have enacted such bills — Idaho, Colorado, Iowa, Utah, and Missouri. The industry-funded conservative American Legislative Exchange Council drafted and lobbied for such legislation. But Idaho was the first state in two years to enact a bill. More than a dozen states considered Ag-Gag bills last year, but none passed one.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) and 16 other journalism organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief December 10, 2013, arguing that Utah's ag-gag law infringes on constitutionally protected newsgathering rights.