Haslam decision due this week on 'ag gag' bill

10:05 AM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam must decide this week whether he will allow a bill to become law that would require images documenting animal abuse to be turned over to law enforcement within 48 hours.

Animal protection groups say the measure they have dubbed the "ag gag" bill is designed to prevent whistleblowers from collecting evidence of ongoing patterns of abuse.

State Attorney General Bob Cooper last week said in a legal opinion that the measure would be "constitutionally suspect" because it could violate Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination and for placing burdens on news collection.

The bill easily passed the Senate, but gained just 50 votes in the House -- the bare minimum needed to clear the chamber.

Haslam has until Wednesday to make up his mind on the bill.

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