TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Barry Kolar on May 9, 2013

The so-called “ag-gag” bill awaiting approval from Gov. Bill Haslam was called “constitutionally suspect” in an opinion released today by Tennessee Attorney General and Reporter Robert Cooper. The governor has said that he will decide by Monday whether or not to sign the bill, which has drawn a firestorm of protest. The legislation would require people who document animal abuse to hand over the recordings to police within 48 hours. Cooper’s opinion said the bill (HB 1191) is constitutionally suspect under the First Amendment on three grounds: underinclusiveness, prior restraint and news gathering privilege. It could also be held to violate a person’s Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, the opinion said.