Indiana Farm Bureau is pleased with progress this week for Senate Bill 101 after a favorable vote from the House Judiciary Committee. The farm trespass bill can now be called for a second reading, and IFB state policy advisor Amy Cornell is optimistic the bill will soon become law.
“Once it gets through the second reading process it will go to third reading where the entire House will vote, and depending on whether or not it’s amended in the house will determine whether or not the bill has to go to conference committee,” she told HAT. “At this point in time we have not heard of a large base of legislators that have concerns, so we are expecting this bill to pass.”
Farm Bureau has made improvement in ag trespass law a priority for this session, and Cornell explains this property rights bill has two important components.
“It adds agricultural operations to the institutional category under criminal mischief. The other thing it does is to remove the posting burden for the production areas of a farm so farmers would no longer have to post no trespassing signs around their fields, their buildings, their managed timberland area, areas that are fenced in, and things like that. If somebody is trespassing on an agricultural operation and they do something that causes property damage there is a potential for increased penalties depending on the amount of property damage that they caused.”
She says the bill is not an “ag-gag” law, but rather a bill providing farmers the same protection against trespass that other Hoosier property owners enjoy.
“This is very different than the legislation that we saw introduced last year. This is not a videotaping bill. We worked very hard with folks in the media and legislators to address those concerns and hopefully alleviate any concerns that they had about the first amendment.”
Cornell added with the very real issue of potential financial loss because of criminal trespass the bill provides farmers with a greater degree of protection and peace of mind.
SB 101 was introduced by Sen. Travis Holdman.