Farm trespassing bill moves to full Indiana House

FILE - In this July 9, 2009 file photo three combines harvest the winter wheat on the Cooksey farm near Roggen, Colo. Farm-state lawmakers are pushing for final passage of the massive, five-year farm bill as it heads to the House floor Wednesday — member by member, vote by vote. There are goodies scattered through the bill for members from all regions of the country: a boost in money for crop insurance popular in the Midwest; higher cotton and rice subsidies for Southern farmers; renewal of federal land payments for Western states. There are cuts to the food stamp program — $800 million a year, or around 1 percent — for Republicans who say the program is spending too much money, but they are low enough that some Democrats will support them.  (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)
FILE - In this July 9, 2009 file photo three combines harvest the winter wheat on the Cooksey farm near Roggen, Colo. Farm-state lawmakers are pushing for final passage of the massive, five-year farm bill as it heads to the House floor Wednesday — member by member, vote by vote. There are goodies scattered through the bill for members from all regions of the country: a boost in money for crop insurance popular in the Midwest; higher cotton and rice subsidies for Southern farmers; renewal of federal land payments for Western states. There are cuts to the food stamp program — $800 million a year, or around 1 percent — for Republicans who say the program is spending too much money, but they are low enough that some Democrats will support them. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A hotly debated measure to increase penalties against farm trespassers is moving forward in the Indiana House.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Monday to make trespassing on the production area of farm property a criminal offense. The legislation also would make causing property damage to a farm an act of criminal mischief.

The bill has been revised again and again after media and animal rights advocacy groups blasted it as an attempt to restrict whistleblowers on animal treatment at farms.

An earlier version of the bill would have banned videotaping or photography on farms without permission. Another version would allow farmers to ban any activities on their property that could cause financial loss.

The bill now heads to the full House.

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