A judge has struck down a state law that enhanced the penalty for trespassing at an ag-related business if the person took pictures or recorded video that was shared.

Animal welfare groups had sued the state over the law aimed at those who’ve used undercover video of livestock confinements and dog breeding facilities to allege the animals were being mistreated. Two previous state laws with the same goals have been blocked by federal courts.

Critics say the laws could be used to shield unsafe working conditions or animal neglect. Supporters of the law say farmers are being smeared and hurt financially by unfounded accusations.

The Iowa Capital Dispatch was first to report that a federal judge ruled that private property rights are an important governmental interest, but taking photos and recording videos is protected speech under the First Amendment.

Radio Iowa