March 9, 2011

When a ridiculous law is proposed, I assume it was designed to address some specific problem...

... and the drafter simply (and stupidly) forgot to think about what other things would be covered by the text. But this law, making it a 1st degree felony to photograph a farm, has so many inappropriate applications that it's hard to imagine a drafter that oblivious.

And what was the original specific problem that fired him up in the first place? There's this:
Organizations such as PETA and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida contend [Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa] drafted the legislation in response to a number of high-profile exposés that revealed horrific conditions on farms around the country, and worry that without whistleblowers the industry will operate with impunity....

45 comments:

JAL said...

Somebody tell Google.

Quick.

Methadras said...

"When a ridiculous law is proposed, I assume it was designed to address some specific problem..."

Well, the 70K page IRS code should be under this ridicule post haste.

Mary Beth said...

If the farm receives subsidies, I'm only taking photos of my own property.

Julius said...

Gotta use the law to stick it to your political opponents, even if doing so is completely unconstitutional and completely unreasonable.

That's how Republicans operate!

Clairvius Narcisse said...

elections have consequences!

Triangle Man said...

I originally assumed it was something stupid related to Big Sugar, but if it's something stupid meant to stick it to PETA, then that is different.

Leland said...

To bad the 63 yr old guy lives in CT.

LawGirl said...

What if a young woman on the farm is in the process of killing a "family pet" rodent? Would it then be permissible as preserving evidence of a felony?

DADvocate said...

Gotta use the law to stick it to your political opponents, even if doing so is completely unconstitutional and completely unreasonable.

That's how Republicans operate!


That's right, we're working on a bill to restrict free speech on corporations right now.

What if a young woman on the farm is in the process of killing a "family pet" rodent? Would it then be permissible as preserving evidence of a felony?

Only if she's in the presence of a man sexually molesting a horse.

E.M. Davis said...

That's how Republicans operate!

Sadly, that's how too many politicians operate.

Bender said...

3. As used in this section, the term “farm” includes any tract of land cultivated for the purpose of agricultural production, the raising and breeding of domestic animals, or the storage of a commodity.

This expansive language would seem to encompass just about everyone who grows a tomato plant on their residential property or who has a pet dog in the back yard.

traditionalguy said...

So how many farm livestock vote? This guy is representing the interests of his constituents who vote. Right after the other non-voters (called a clump of cells foetus) are protected then protecting hampsters, horses and farm livestock should be looked into. Think of the private property Farming operation as the farmer's Uterus.

Julius said...

Meanwhile...

Republicans in Utah quickly install anti-transparency measures restricting access to public records.

Why do Republicans hate free speech and a free press?

edutcher said...

This is how the guy fondling the horse got the idea.

A layout in Playfarm.

Julius said...

Gotta use the law to stick it to your political opponents, even if doing so is completely unconstitutional and completely unreasonable.

That's how Republicans operate!


Yeah, card check, ZeroCare - those damn Conservatives flaunting everything.

campy said...

What if a young woman on the farm is in the process of killing a "family pet" rodent?

That makes it child porn.

edutcher said...

Julius said...

Meanwhile...

Republicans in Utah quickly install anti-transparency measures restricting access to public records.

Why do Republicans hate free speech and a free press?


You mean like The Zero?

MadisonMan said...

So, is it appropriate that the R-Tampa follows the lawmaker's name in this case?

Leland said...

What does restriction of access to government records have to do with free speech or free press?

I can sort of see the latter, if you think "freedom of the press" means they can put their noses into anything they want. However, I always thought "freedom of the press" meant they could publish what they wanted without fear of government reprisal. Which is pretty much what I understand free speech to be.

That's not to say I support less government transparency. More to the point, I support less government, so that I don't have to care what it hides. I do think farms, as private entities, should be able to hide things, but if they take Dept of Ag subsidies, then I think that photographing farm operations is free game (so long as it is done from public areas).

Lem said...

There's this:

Page not found
Sorry, the page you were looking for in the blog Althouse does not exist
.

You got a dead link profe.

DADvocate said...

Republicans in Utah quickly install anti-transparency measures restricting access to public records.

They should pursue criminal charges like Obama. The MOST TRANSPARENT administration in history!!!

Queens Crapper said...

This was actually covered in the movie "Food, Inc."

MadisonMan said...

If the farm receives subsidies

If?

MadisonMan said...

You got a dead link ...

It's probably this link.

Ankur said...

"Mary Beth said...
If the farm receives subsidies, I'm only taking photos of my own property."

Slam dunk.

Also, is it just me, or does this remind others of the wisconsin anti-prank-call law?

Browndog said...

"If the farm receives subsidies, I'm only taking photos of my own property."

And the notion that liberals and their socialistic agenda is merely a small step step removed from communism is absurd.

traditionalguy said...

What if the farmer thinks about government subsidies that he does not take? Kulaks have always been enemies of the people, selfishly demanding money for food that people need for free. I say we take pictures of them and slanser them and pass a regulations that apply to all except friends we grant waivers to.

Ankur said...

I think Mary Beth's post was more a comment on the nature of subsidies rather than on actual ownership of subsidized farms.

For people who consider themselves skilled practitioners of sarcasm, some of you are seriously literal.

cotton2 said...

If someone is on my farm uninvited, whether taking pictures or not, I will charge them with trespassing. No extra law needed.

MOswingvoter said...

It could have something to do with patented seeds. Farmers are not allowed to use their own seeds anymore since Monsanto, ConAgra etc. have patented just about everything. Reps from those companies come out and photograph fields and if they find any of their plants, even if the plants were naturally crosspollinated, they sue the farmer for patent infringement. The better solution here would be patent reform as opposed to "don't take pictures", but whatever.

AllenS said...

Does this have anything to do with that Facebook Farmville crap?

Lucien said...

Don't worry, the staute only applies to "a farm or other property where legitimate agriculture operations are being conducted without the written consent of the owner".

So where such activities are being done with the the written consent of the owner, or if the activities are illegitimate (cannabis, opium poppies, Condors for sale?)the statute doesn't apply. (Or is there some ambiguity in the language?)

MOswingvoter said...

" Lucien said...
Don't worry, the staute only applies to "a farm or other property where legitimate agriculture operations are being conducted without the written consent of the owner"."

That's horrific drafting. It sounds like the farmer needs consent to farm.

I'm a Shaaaaark said...

Can't have those farms out there opeeating with impunity!!! That's how freedom happens, then the next thi g you know everyone will want that, and then how will the nannies spend their time? Did anyone stop and think about their needs? Noooooooo.

Stephen said...

Just as "free speech for all" means that we must allow speech for those with whom we disagree, "transparency for all" rains on friend and foe alike. Let PETA take its pictures, let NPR executives be recorded, and let overhead shots of Tom Friedman's estate continue to be published on Drudge. (Transparency exception: Assange, mainly because he's so unlikable.)

Bruce Hayden said...

"When a ridiculous law is proposed, I assume it was designed to address some specific problem..."

I guess I could almost go there. Legislation doesn't happen totally by accident - but accidental legislation might be better than what we do get.

But, I wouldn't go as far as agreeing that there was really some real problem to address, or, really that the solution might solve that problem. And, yes, I am a cynic, and in particular when it comes to government.

Plus, a lot of the time, you find out that the problem being solved, really, was that one company didn't have a competitive advantage over another company, or someone wasn't getting the tax advantages they thought they needed to compete. 1001 ways of saying that a lot of legislation involves rent-seeking, and has little, if anything to do with the common welfare.

Of course, then we get into the area of drafting expertise. Some times you get well drafted laws, and then sometimes you get ObamaCare, Dodd Frank, SOX, etc. (and apparently, today, the U.S. Senate passed S.23, called "patent reform" to distract everyone from the reality that it is the result of rent seeking by some of the biggest companies in the country). And, the little problem known as "unintended consequences".

Kirk Parker said...

Leland,

"I always thought 'freedom of the press' meant they could publish what they wanted... [emphasis added]"

Who's this "they" you are referring to? "The Press" as a metonymy for organized (usually corporate) publishing institutions did not exist in the founding period. For them, "freedom of the press" meant "freedom to publish" and it's just as available to you or any other individual as it is to any dinosaur media corporation.

Revenant said...

I always thought "freedom of the press" meant they could publish what they wanted without fear of government reprisal.

"Freedom of the press" means freedom to produce, publish, and distribute printed materials -- and, by extension, photographs, photocopies, drawings, etc.

That's all it means. It has nothing to do with news media, except that news media happen to publish that sort of material.

Revenant said...

Farmers are not allowed to use their own seeds anymore since Monsanto, ConAgra etc. have patented just about everything.

That's a load of crap.

Farmers are free to use any of the numerous naturally-occurring seeds out there, none of which have been or can be patented.

Farmers refrain from using such seeds for one simple reason: they're inferior. It costs more to raise a crop with 'natural' seeds, and the yield is lower. Farming has narrow profit margins to begin with, so any farmer who deliberately chose to use inferior seed stock is asking to go bankrupt.

Leland said...

They are the People, which I assume meant everyone that's a citizen of the US. But I accept the clarification. Still, I don't understand how government secrecy violates freedom of the press.

Revenant said...

It has nothing to do with either free speech or freedom of the press.

There is no right to government transparency; it is just a good idea in most cases. :)

MOswingvoter said...

"Farmers are free to use any of the numerous naturally-occurring seeds out there, none of which have been or can be patented."

Except if farmers use non-Monsanto seeds and the wind cross-pollinates their plants with someone else's Monsanto seeds, they're still liable, hence the photographs. Monsanto hasn't just patented the seeds, they've patented the genes inside the seeds. Farmers also can't use the seeds from their own plants to use next year, whether because Monsanto created terminator seeds or because it's part of their take-it-or-leave-it contract. I.e., they can't use "their own" crops' seeds.

DADvocate said...

Don't tell anybody but I took this picture and some others a couple of years ago. I ride with the worst of the outlaws.

Kirk Parker said...

"Except if farmers use non-Monsanto seeds and the wind cross-pollinates their plants with someone else's Monsanto seeds, they're still liable..."

Well that's something that needs changing, maybe--if Monsanto can't keep its patented crops from spreading their wild oats, why should the innocent neighbor be liable for anything? It's like Farmer Brand-X caused the wind that blew the pollen over onto his fields!

Kirk Parker said...

Oops, make that "it's NOT like Farmer Brand-X caused the wind..."

peter hoh said...

I'm pretty sure that Monsanto can't prove that a given plant is from their seed (or cross pollinated from one of their patented seed lines) from a photograph.