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AG Says ‘Ag Gag’ Bill is ‘Constitutionally Suspect’

State Attorney General Bob Cooper said Thursday that a so-called “ag gag” bill is “constitutionally suspect,” an opinion that may figure into Gov. Bill Haslam’s pending decision on whether to veto the bill.
The bill (HB1191) requires anyone “intentionally” recording evidence of livestock abuse to turn over all photographs and videos to “law enforcement authorities” promptly – within 48 hours unless the evidence is collected on a weekend. Violations would be a misdemeanor crime subject to a $500 fine.
Haslam said earlier this week that he wanted to see the opinion, requested by state Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, before deciding whether to sign the bill into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature.
“The governor is reviewing the opinion. He has said he anticipates having a decision by early next week,” said David Smith, spokesman for Haslam.

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