Farm trespassing bill gets House approval

FILE - In this July 9, 2009 file photo three combines harvest the winter wheat on the Cooksey farm near Roggen, Colo. (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. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana bill cracking down on trespassers who cause property damage on farms has won House approval.

State representatives on Tuesday voted 73-25 in favor of the bill, which would make trespassing on the production area of farm property a criminal offense and causing property damage to a farm an act of criminal mischief.

The measure was revised multiple times in the Senate after the Hoosier State Press Association and animal rights groups blasted it as an attempt to restrict whistleblowers on animal treatment, particularly at factory farms. Earlier versions would have banned videotaping or photography without permission.

An amendment to increase penalties for only physical damage to a farm failed last week.

The measure needs Gov. Mike Pence’s signature before becoming law.

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