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Republican Sen. Ken Rozenboom said Senate Study Bill 1227 is a critical piece of legislation for the state of Iowa. The bill provides a person who disrupts agricultural production at an ag production facility is subject to criminal prosecution.

It would involve the use of deception to obtain access to a facility, which is not open to the public, with the intent to cause physical or economic harm or other injury to the facility’s operations, property or persons.

A first offense would be a serious misdemeanor while subsequent offenses would be aggravated misdemeanors.

Democrat Sen. Liz Maths referenced a recent court ruling that overturned Iowa’s “ag gag” law, which passed in 2012. She shared much of the language from judge James Gritzner’s ruling from earlier this year. Mathis said the agricultural industry has some good players and some bad players.

Rozenboom said he believes the legislation is much more narrowly focused and is “absolutely essential.”

The bill passed through the Senate Agriculture committee despite Democrat objections.