Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jim Norman Crusade Against Farm Photography

I literally laughed my ass off when I read this.


SB 1246 by Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, would make it a first-degree felony to photograph a farm without first obtaining written permission from the owner. A farm is defined as any land "cultivated for the purpose of agricultural production, the raising and breeding of domestic animals or the storage of a commodity."


Thank goodness Sen. Norman wants to put a stop to the wave of farm photography. I have no doubt this will make Alex Pickett's Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation.

The text of SB 1246.


Section 1. 
(1) A person who enters onto a farm or other property where legitimate agriculture operations are being conducted without the written consent of the owner, or an authorized representative of the owner, commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, Florida Statutes.

(2) A person who photographs, video records, or otherwise produces images or pictorial records, digital or otherwise, at or of a farm or other property where legitimate agriculture operations are being conducted without the written consent of the owner, or an authorized representative of the owner, commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, Florida Statutes.

(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.


There are already laws against trespassing. The bill also makes it illegal to film a farm off the grounds of the property. Judy Dalglish had the best legal summary of the bill.


Judy Dalglish, executive director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said shooting property from a roadside or from the air is legal. The bill "is just flat-out unconstitutional not to mention stupid," she said.


We are talking about the the same Jim Norman who thought people wouldn't find out about longtime campaign contributor Ralph Hughes buying Norman's wife a house. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Norman never had read the First amendment. Arresting people for taking photographs will never hold up in the courts.

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