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Law officials clarify 'Ag Gag' Law

Published On: Mar 05 2014 07:31:51 PM CST

Law officials answered questions about a newly passed agriculture law that keeps people from filming, recording or obtaining records from an agricultural operation without permission.

The law went into effect Feb 28. Sgt. Karl Casperson on the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office explained that this law isn't about sweeping abuse under the rug.

"You know we already have a law for trespassing, this just makes it a little more specific to those operations," said Casperson. "This is Fourth Amendment stuff here, we want people to be free from unreasonable search and seizure."

The law also states that it protects agriculture production, which many people mistake for any small farm that contains animals. Casperson said this only applies to privately or publicly owned structures and land used for agriculture production, such as dairy and feed facilities. Many also wonder what who would be liable for penalties under the new law. Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce Pickett said it's anyone who doesn't have valid permission to be on the facilities' property.

"This law pertains to anyone who enters an agriculture production facility who obtain records, by force, threat or trespass. The law also applies to those obtain employment under false pretenses with the intent to cause economic harm to those facilities or operations," said Pickett.

The law states that anyone who violates this law could face up to a year in jail, a $5,000 fine and possible restitution of double in damages the facility faces as a result of leaked records.