ALEC Involved in Indiana’s “Ag-Gag” Lawmaking

We’ve had many Hoosiers contacting us about ALEC and the recent articles and posts from Muncie Voice about the Ag-Gag bills and constitutional amendments proposed by our republican super majority “representatives” in Indianapolis.

Apparently, there are many citizens still unfamiliar with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  ALEC describes itself as a membership association of state legislators, but over 98% of its revenue comes from corporations and corporate foundations.

According to the website ALEC Exposed, it states:

ALEC’s agenda extends into almost all areas of law. Its bills undermine environmental regulations and deny climate change; support school privatization; undercut health care reform; defund unions and limit their political influence; restrain legislatures’ abilities to raise revenue through taxes; mandate strict election laws that disenfranchise voters; increase incarceration to benefit the private prison industry, among many other issues.

The right to work for less legislation forced through the statehouse last year was a bill provided by ALEC. It was used in several other states also. 

A visit to the ALEC exposed website reveals many other bills passed in republican dominated states have come from ALEC.

In fact, the Gannett owned Muncie StarPress gives up their editorial pages to the Indiana Policy Review writers who are all members of ALEC and endorse their philosophy. Not the independent sources they’d like for you to believe.

They are nothing more than a public relations organization peddling a self serving corporate agenda to unsuspecting citizens/voters.

Hoosiers must know that newspapers abandoned their journalistic principles years ago in favor of a profit model. It’s not an independent free press holding both the public and private sectors accountable. They are part of the problem.

Current ALEC legislation in Indianapolis will treat the remaining “investigative journalists” who access corporate farms to take pictures of the mistreatment of animals lying in their filth, rundown facilities, use of underpaid illegal migrant workers as laborers, and overflowing manure ponds being drained into our waterways as “terrorists.”

The photo attached to this article is an aerial photo taken of a CAFO in North Carolina. In Indiana, our lawmakers have already declared it illegal to fly over a corporate farm and take photos. Why do they need this kind of protection from our government?

Our lawmakers should be creating laws to prevent animal abuse, keep our food safe, restrict the use of illegal migrant workers, and assess substantial penalties for dumping harsh chemicals into our rivers and streams.

They also make it impossible for local governments to enforce stricter laws. As a resident of Delaware County, you will have no recourse against a corporate farm’s odor, use of ditches to dispense of manure, or any other potential hazards. County officials will be rendered powerless by state laws via a legal process called preemption.

cafo pigsDoes this sound like a government for the people? When corporations and our government create laws against the people, nothing good will come from these practices.

These ALEC bills being rammed down Hoosiers throats are similar to other states trademark legislation on corporate farms including:

  • Prohibiting local government from passing stricter laws on agriculture than the laws of the state.
  • Restricting nuisance suits if the plaintiff moved to the area of an already established agricultural operation.
  • Restricting nuisance suits if the farm operation engages in “generally accepted agricultural practices” that do not violate any laws.
  • Restricting nuisance suits if the farm operation is located in an agricultural zone.
  • Ordering the plaintiff to pay attorneys fees of the defendant if they (the plaintiff) lose the case.

As we’ve mentioned before in Muncie Voice articles, the Environmental Protection Agency has few regulations over these corporate farms, so environmental groups have been the primary watchdogs and each bill passed grants more rights to the corporations. If the current round of bills are passed, the environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Hoosier Environment Council will be treated as “terrorist organizations”.

Remember whose side the newspapers are on – the corporations. They open up their pages to ALEC’s editorial writers. There are no more investigative journalists with Gannett, or the Muncie StarPress. The government regulatory organizations have been rendered helpless by our republican lawmakers by cutting back their budgets. Environmental groups are now considered terrorist organizations, and local governments will have no authority.

Why must corporate farming who provides our food be protected by our government and allowed to operate without any oversight?

cafo chickensThe current food movement has reported about the steroids and vaccinations with other toxic injections that must be given to our feed animals because of the extremely harsh conditions they face on the corporate farms, and they recommend that consumers visit the farms where their food is raised so they can see for themselves how the animals are treated. With a market demanding transparency, why is our government colluding with factory farms to make their operations more private? What are they hiding from the public?

Corporate abuses have become a buzz word in the past decade. Have we not learned anything?

Here are the name of a few corporations benefiting directly from the new laws:

  • Archer Daniels Midland
  • Bayer
  • Cargill
  • DuPont
  • Monsanto
  • Koch Industries

If you know of any other corporations endorsing these Ag-Gag bills and constitutional amendments, send them to and we will gladly add them to this list so Hoosiers will be informed about who’s benefiting from the laws being written in our Hoosier state.

Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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SB 373 is a bill that would criminalize important whistle-blowing activity against large agricultural operations, which already operate with less oversight than they should. Unfortunately, this very dangerous legislation has now made its way to the Senate floor. It’s not hard to see what the real intent is behind this bill: to protect factory farms from any evidence of wrongdoing ever reaching the public. If passed, this law would surely be used by unscrupulous employers to intimidate and bully employees out of documenting a wide range of abuses—including food safety, environmental, and workers’ rights violations, and animal cruelty. It could also be used to retaliate against any employee who blows the whistle on unethical or illegal activities. This bill would essentially safeguard certain corrupt businesses from criminal liability for just about anything. Why does the factory farming industry deserve a free pass on accountability, and more importantly, what is it trying to hide?
Laura Baker
Plainfield, Indiana

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