State legislator says bill that would outlaw undercover farm videos will not advance

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington lawmaker says a bill to outlaw undercover farm videos doesn't have enough support to advance.

House Public Safety Committee Chairman Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, presided over a hearing Tuesday where the so-called 'ag-gag bill' drew wide-ranging criticism. Hours later, the Democrat said he was going to make sure the measure didn't go beyond the panel.

Republican Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, says he wrote the bill to extend the same privacy protections to his fellow farmers' businesses that they have in their homes.

But critics have argued that the bill would trample on free speech rights, cover up abusive farm practices and deter whistle-blowers.

A bill by a farmer-legislator that would make it a criminal act to make audio or video recordings of a farm's practices without the landowner's written consent is being considered by the state House.

Laws similar to the proposal have passed in several states and are the subject of pending lawsuits in Utah and Idaho.