- Associated Press - Saturday, March 29, 2014
Bill takes aim at animal-rights videos at farms

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Senate voted Friday to punish animal-rights activists with jail and fines for secretly filming farm operations, attaching the proposal to legislation meant to prevent animal shelters from using gas chambers as a form of euthanasia.

But that’s as far as the bill may go. The Senate’s action drew a defiant response from the sponsor of the original House-passed bill.

Democratic Rep. Joni Jenkins said she would not ask the House to take up the broader bill in the final days of the General Assembly session, which would kill the measure. She said the punishment proposed in the Senate version was misdirected.

“If a big factory farm is doing something that impacts the environment and public health, we shouldn’t be penalizing whistleblowers in those instances,” Jenkins said.

The provision to criminalize undercover filming or photographing of private farm animal operations was added by the Senate Agriculture Committee this week. The full Senate accepted the changes before passing the amended version on a 32-6 vote, sending it back to the House.

The amended measure would make it a misdemeanor for someone to gain access to a private farm under false pretenses and then film or photograph the operations without the landowner’s consent. Violators could face up to 90 days in jail and a $250 fine.


Kentucky budget talks break down

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A $500,000 roof on a Louisville domestic violence shelter threatened to derail the state’s $20 billion two-year state spending plan for health care, education and public safety.

Democratic state Rep. Larry Clark, D-Louisville, wants state taxpayers to pay $500,000 to replace a roof on the Center for Women and Families in Louisville.

But Republican state Sen. Bob Leeper, R-Paducah, removed that money from the budget, saying it is the Senate’s policy not to include pet projects with no statewide impact in the two-year state spending plan.

“Congratulations to you,” Clark shot back. “I’ve still got a heart.”

With that, House and Senate lawmakers angrily walked away from the negotiating table with little progress after two days of budget talks. Lawmakers tried again Friday evening, meeting for four hours before adjourning in time to watch the University of Kentucky play the University of Louisville in the NCAA basketball tournament.

“I think it’s pretty normal,” House budget chairman Rick Rand, D-Bedford, said of the contentious meetings. “At some point the dam breaks and the water flows. I think that’s probably where we are.”

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