Iowa Ag-Gag II (ALDF v. Reynolds)

Iowa Ag-Gag II (ALDF v. Reynolds)

Iowa’s second effort to prevent journalists or activists from entering livestock facilities under false pretenses to report on animal abuse was passed and signed into law just two months after U.S. District Judge James Gritzner ruled that Iowa’s law passed in 2012 violated the First Amendment. As with the previous Ag-Gag law, the new Ag-Gag law criminalizes undercover investigations at factory farms and slaughterhouses, the only difference being the law targets a slightly different form of speech that is integral to those investigations. The new Ag-Gag law criminalizes using “deception,” which is defined to include affirmative statements or omissions, to gain access to or employment at an agricultural production facility “with the intent to cause physical or economic harm or other injury to the agricultural production facility’s operations, agricultural animals, crop, owner, personnel, equipment, building, premises, business interest, or customer.” Iowa Code § 717A.3B(1)(a), (b).

Again, we argue that this law penalizes and thereby chills First Amendment-protected activities based on the content of speech and is therefore unconstitutional. The State of Iowa quickly filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a judiciable claim. We filed a Cross Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Briefing on these motions is complete and we are waiting for the scheduling of oral argument.

District Court No. 19 cv 00124 JEG HCA

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