Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Letters to the Editor

February 25, 2014

Statement from Indiana Farm Bureau about Senate Bill 101:

Indiana Farm Bureau and its farmer members thank the House Judiciary Committee for voting favorably on Senate Bill 101, a measure that will provide farmers the same protections against trespass enjoyed by all Hoosier homeowners. Indiana Farm Bureau looks forward to working with the entire House during its debate on and eventual passage of this important bill.

Contrary to media outcry and activist rhetoric, SB 101 contains no language about videotaping, photographing or employment fraud, all of which were elements of a bill that died in the final hours of last year’s General Assembly.

“There seems to be some confusion surrounding this current trespass bill,” said Katrina Hall, IFB’s director of state government relations. “We keep hearing phrases like ‘ag-gag’ and ‘trampling of rights,’ but none of that language appears in SB 101. This bill simply gives farmers the same protection against trespass that other property owners have.”

During testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, IFB state policy advisor Amy Cornell emphasized that farms and their economic viability are often harmed by trespassers; that farmers should be not be burdened with the obligation to post signs in every field and on every building; that First Amendment rights do not include a right to trespass; and that strengthening trespass laws has been a goal of Indiana farmers and Farm Bureau for many years.

While SB 373 morphed a number of times during the 2013 legislature, this year’s SB 101 has focused only on criminal trespass since it was introduced by Sen. Travis Holdman.

“I don’t understand why the Hoosier Environmental Council and other opponents, none of whom testified before the committee, continue to bring up issues that are not germane to this legislation,” said Cornell. “The potential of financial loss because of criminal trespass is a very real issue for Hoosier farmers, and this bill provides them a greater degree of protection and peace of mind.”

— Daily News

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