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Ag trespass bill passes with broad support

After the issue drew considerable controversy last year, legislation dealing with ag trespass cleared the General Assembly with broad support. SEA 101 (Travis Holdman, R-Markle) adds causing property damage to an agricultural operation to the existing crime of institutional criminal mischief. Indiana farmers will no longer be required to post “no trespassing” signs to protect the production areas of their farms. If a trespasser commits an intentional act that causes property damage, it could result in additional penalties, depending on the amount of damage caused.

Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Danville) and Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) sponsored the bill in the House. Gov. Mike Pence signed the legislation on March 14.

SEA 186 provides the state with a policy framework for agriculture by amending the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s statute. SEA 186 (Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, and Rep. Don Lehe, R-Brookston) states that the Indiana Code shall be construed to protect the rights of farmers to choose among all generally accepted farming and livestock production practices, including the use of ever-changing technology. Despite misleading publicity by the measure’s opponents, including Humane Society of the United States and the Hoosier Environmental Council, SEA 186 passed the Senate 40-8 and the House 67-30. The governor signed the legislation on March 14.

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