Haslam Decision Due This Week On 'Ag Gag' Bill

May 13, 2013

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam must decide this week whether he will allow a bill to become law that requiring images documenting animal abuse to be turned over to law enforcement within 48 hours. Animal protection groups say the measure they’ve dubbed the "ag gag" bill is designed to prevent whistleblowers from collecting evidence of ongoing patterns of abuse. 

A legal opinion from State Attorney General Bob Cooper says the measure would be "constitutionally suspect" because it could violate Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination and for placing burdens on news collection.  The bill easily passed the Senate, but gained just 50 votes in the House — the bare minimum needed to clear the chamber.  Haslam has until Wednesday to decide on the bill.