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Sides Lay Their Case on Ag-Gag Law in Idaho Court

Benito Baeza

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — State attorneys say Idaho’s law to punish those who secretly film agricultural operations doesn’t limit free speech.

The attorneys say that’s because the First Amendment right does not exempt trespassing on private property. They made the argument in front of U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill during a hearing Wednesday. The American Civil Liberties of Idaho countered that deception is protected speech as long as it doesn’t directly cause harm.

The two parties are arguing over the constitutionality of a recently passed law that prohibits individuals from going undercover to investigate animal abuse or other problems at agricultural operations. The law makes it illegal to surreptitiously film activities on private land without permission. Winmill says he will make a decision whether to dismiss the case in the next few weeks.

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