Business videotaping ban clears Indiana House panel

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Taking videos and photos at Indiana farms and factories without permission would be a crime under a proposal endorsed by a state House committee.

Bill sponsor Rep. Bill Friend of Macy says the measure is aimed at stopping overzealous activists from defaming farms and businesses with misleading videos.

The Indianapolis Star reports Rep. Sheila Klinker of Lafayette opposes the bill because of concerns that it would prevent exposure of misconduct such as puppy mills where dogs are kept in bad conditions or neglected horses.

The bill would make it a misdemeanor to photograph or video the businesses unless the images are given to law enforcement or a regulatory agency within 48 hours.

The House agriculture committee voted 9-3 Thursday to advance the bill to the full House.

The bill has gained national attention, with Republican pundit Mary Matalin lobbying against it.

The longtime Republican operative says that the "ag-gag" bill would punish whistleblowers reporting animal cruelty. Matalin recorded the spot for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals opposing the measure. PETA released the spot Wednesday.

Matalin is the latest in a string of celebrities PETA has called on to lobby against the measure. "No Doubt" bassist Tony Kanal and former "The Price is Right" host Bob Barker wrote letters to Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma opposing the bill.

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