A draft agriculture interference bill, which critics call an “ag-gag” proposal, has been introduced in the Washington State House of Representatives. The state’s annual legislative session was called to order Monday in Olympia. House Bill 1104, sponsored by state Reps. Joe Schmick (R-Colfax) and and J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm), has been all but promised a hearing by state Rep. Brian Blake, the Aberdeen Democrat who chairs the House Agriculture Committee. HB 1104 appears to be the first bill of its kind to be introduced for consideration in a 2015 legislative session. After federal district court judges in two different circuits agreed to hear constitutional challenges to “ag-gag” laws enacted by Idaho and Utah, some predicted that other states would wait to see if such measures are legal. But the Washington state bill would enact language of the sort that has caused critics to challenge “ag-gag” laws. HB 1104 states that the guilty includes anyone who “enters an agricultural production facility that is not open to the public and, without the facility owner’s express written consent or pursuant to judicial process or clear statutory authorization, makes audio or video recordings of the assets or conduct of an agricultural production facility’s operations … .” Conviction under Section 1 of HB 1104 would be a gross misdemeanor under Washington state law. Penalties could include up to one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. While Blake said he’d like the proposal to get a hearing, he called it an “interesting and potentially difficult bill.” HB 1104 had initially been assigned to the House Public Safety Committee, not Agriculture. Schmick, whose district is adjacent to Idaho, acknowledges that he tailored HB 1104 on the Gem State’s new law. He says he wants a “strong deterrent” against taking pictures or recording operations of agricultural facilities without permission. The first such laws were adopted in 1990-91 in Kansas, North Dakota and Montana. Four more states have adopted similar measures since 2010, including Idaho, Utah, Iowa and Missouri. Animal-rights groups that use undercover agents to collect evidence to advance their cases have opposed ag-gag measures, both in the legislative process and in federal courts. State legislatures are just getting underway for 2015. As of yesterday, Washington was one of 29 states with legislatures in session. According to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, 44 states will be making new laws by end of the month.

  • Cheryl Bowe

    House Bill 1104, sponsored by state Reps. Joe Schmick (R-Colfax) and and J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm), has been all but promised a hearing by state Rep. Brian Blake, the Aberdeen Democrat who chairs the House Agriculture Committee ……..How does garbage like this gain momentum so fast? Other worthy considerations get lost and die.

    • Jan Whitefoot

      Dairy industry has a lot of money for lobbyists; there is no concern for those of us suffering from factory farm pollution.

  • why do we need ag gag laws ?

    http://www.upworthy.com/a-drone-flew-over-a-pig-farm-to-discover-its-not-really-a-farm-its-something-much-more-disturbing?c=huf1

    AG-GAG LAWS are what happens when you let the industry govern the laws i.e.
    USDA inc $$$

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    IDAHO RECALL LIST MASSIVE FROM DEAD STOCK DOWNER CANCER COWS OFFAL from
    Class I Recall 002-2014 and 013-2014 Health Risk: High Jan 13, 2014 and Feb 8,
    2014 shipped to Texas, Florida, and Illinois UPDATE FEBRUARY 14, 2014

    http://downercattle.blogspot.com/2014/03/texas-recall-list-massive-from-dead.html

    Friday, April 26, 2013

    INDIANA Republican State Sen. Travis Holdman Senate Bill 373 ag-gag WILL
    PUT HUMANS AT RISK

    http://madcowusda.blogspot.com/2013/04/indiana-republican-state-sen-travis.html

    Firm initiated recall is complete. REASON Products manufactured from bulk
    feed containing blood meal that was cross contaminated with prohibited meat and
    bone meal and the labeling did not bear cautionary BSE statement.

    VOLUME OF PRODUCT IN COMMERCE 9,997,976 lbs. DISTRIBUTION ID and NV

    END OF ENFORCEMENT REPORT FOR MARCH 21, 2007

    http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/EnforcementReports/2007/ucm120446.htm

    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    FDA PART 589 — SUBSTANCES PROHIBITED FROM USE IN ANIMAL FOOD OR FEED
    VIOLATIONS OFFICIAL ACTION INDICATED OAI UPDATE DECEMBER 2014 BSE TSE PRION

    http://madcowusda.blogspot.com/2014/12/fda-part-589-substances-prohibited-from.html

  • Stefan

    Isn’t unauthorized entry into a private facility trespassing? And isn’t there a law for that? I really wish our legislators would tackle the pressing issues such as education. WA lost federal funding last year because the folks in Olympia weren’t getting anything done.

  • Jan Whitefoot

    Industrial Ag does not want people to know how much they are polluting and destroying our land air and water. In Yakima County, WA State, with over 300,000 factory farm dairy cows, EPA found 135 nitrates in a well at a dairy cluster. Those 4 dairies had a total of 41 lagoons. They are not required to have liners.Industrial AG does not want public to see this mess. The Outlook School is on its third well, at taxpayer’s expense. No one is protecting public health! Everyone voting on this issue needs to come to Yakima Valley and go on a poop tour to see the devastation factory farming is doing to us.Yet again, we will have politicians voting on an issue they know nothing about.

  • Jan Whitefoot

    Yakima County, WA State, has become the “Toilet Bowl of the State,” because of the over 90 industrial factory dairy farms located here. Yakima County refuses to make these industrial polluters even get a building permit. Yakima County allowed a dairy lagoon put right next to citizen’s property. The case of “Mad cow” was here, yet the industry made it legal to put their dead cows in their manure and call it “Organic,” without testing it for pathogens. Dairy industry does not want their dirty big secrets out. We have not had help from one politician! Money talks!

  • Justine

    For more information on J.T.Wilcox check out LinkedIn. It’s no wonder he introduced this bill! Ethics abuse!

  • Jace

    Doesn’t this law violate our 1st amendment rights?

  • Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    ag gag laws or cover-up laws ?

    http://madcowusda.blogspot.com/2015/01/ag-gag-laws-or-cover-up-laws.html

  • WildFeyChild

    Is there a petition against this?

  • qqqqqq

    If you listen to those pushing, the law, they claim farms are “private property, just like your house”, but in fact, they’re places of business, which are not like a house.

    If you listen, they say its to stop destruction of property, but that’s already illegal. What it is really about is stopping people from knowingly entering a property to take pictures of activities which MIGHT be illegal. If you can get them prosecuted, then you didn’t commit a crime, but if the EPA opens an investigation, you’re going to be hit with a fine until they are charged. This entirely a bill to scare people from reporting illegal activity.

    Schmick is just a pawn of ALEC and is pushing anti-Citizen laws. How shameful.