March 21st, 2011 by Alicia Calzada and tagged Access, blogging, farm, first amendment, law, legislation, national press photographers association, newspapers, photography, photojournalism, students, trespassing, video
Mixed news on the Florida Farm bill (SB 1246) today. The Florida Senate Committee on Agriculture approved the bill, but before they did they passed two amendments to the language of the bill.
The first amendment changes the language of the bill so that it only applies to trespassers who enter the property, and exempts law enforcement and agents of the Department of Agriculture. The bill now only applies to someone whoÂ “enters onto a farm or other property … produces audio or video records without the written consent of the owner or an authorized representative of the owner,”
The second amendment changes the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.
While we still don’t like any law that targets photography, these amendments have addressed our primary concerns- that photography elevated a trespass crime to a felony, and that photography from a public place could be illegal. We will sleep better in Florida now.
As a side note, the tools available on legislative websites can be very interesting if you take a minute to poke around. Here is an analysis of the bill that specifically mentions the now-changed constitutional problems.