Only a floor vote in the Missouri Senate may stand between Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk and a bill making fraud and interference new crimes if carried out at agricultural facilities, a so-called “ag-gag” law.

House Bill 1860, adopted by the Missouri House on a 124-29 vote, now carries an important  “do pass” recommendation from the powerful Missouri Senate Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources Committee.

The “do pass” recommendation was attached to the bill on May 10, and it could have been brought up for a vote at any time since then. But for the past week, Missouri’s General Assembly was caught up in what observers called  “contentious cross-chamber negotiations” on the “Show Me” state’s new budget.  

With the budget settled, the push is on to see what business can be accomplished before Missouri lawmakers go home on May 18. If it clears the Senate and is signed into law by Nixon, the Missouri would become the third state after Iowa and Utah to adopt an “ag-gag” bill this year.

Twenty years ago, three other states–Kansas, North Dakota, and Montana–adopted similar laws. All are designed to discourage taking undercover videos and pictures inside animal agriculture facilities.