So you're in your friend's passenger seat cruising down I4 when you spot some cows grazing on farmland. You ask your friend to pull over for a second so you can whip out your iPhone and take a quick snapshot of the majestic bovines. Seems innocent enough? Well, Republican state Sen. Jim Norman thinks you are a criminal and should be punished as such.
After failing to pass a similar bill last session, Norman is back with a bill that would make it illegal to photograph or film a farm without the express written consent of the farm's owner. First amendment be damned.
Norman introduced a similar bill last year that would make it a felony to photograph a farm. That bill was ultimately unsuccessful, so this year's edition, SB1184, would only make it a misdemeanor.
Of course, the bill isn't really aimed at punishing people who just want to take pictures of cute cows, but rather animal rights group looking to gather evidence of animal mistreatment.
"Once again, Senator Norman has sided with the owners of factory farms in Florida to prevent the public from learning how animals are treated inside intensive confinement facilities," said Nick Atwood, campaign coordinator of Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. "The bill also does a disservice to Florida consumers. Recent undercover investigations at farms have led not only to important improvements in the welfare of animals but also in food safety."
[via Naked Politics]
Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.