The House and Senate (or general assembly) decided to override Pat McCrory’s veto on the “ag-gag bill”. Despite the voice of the people and the governor, on January 1, 2016, North Carolina House Bill 405 will become state law.
The bill started popping up in legislation across the United States in the 90‘s. The assembly says that it’s to counteract the recording and theft of trade secrets. The animal rights activists say that its primary purpose is to counter the undercover exposure of animal cruelty that continuously happens in places like poultry farms and other agricultural facilities. Therefore, the animal rights activists branded it the “ag-gag bill”. While many states have some variation of an “ag-gag bill”, many people (including Pat McCrory) worry that North Carolina’s version is written poorly. This bill grants all North Carolina employers the right to seek legal action against people who record and expose illegal, unethical, or negligent activity in any workplace.
My question is: why not come up with fair and ethical practices (or enforce the ones that already exist) when it comes to our food and the workplace instead of discouraging the people from exposing when corners are cut? Why not create sustainable processes to keep trade secrets secret?
I have a lot of concerns as it relates to this situation. My greatest concern is that according to the ASPCA, opposition was strong across all parties, regions, and demographics. From what I read, it was clear that more than 70% of likely voters were opposed to ANY legislation that would prevent undercover investigations. Yet the General Assembly decided to take it upon themselves to override the people and the governor. I feel like we are in a parody of “House of Cards”.
As a part of his veto statement, Governor McCory had this to say: “While I support the purpose of this bill, I believe it does not adequately protect or give clear guidance to honest employees who uncover criminal activity.”
I find this statement problematic as well. I am curious as to why our governor is not ready to clean up some 2,000 pig farms in North Carolina? Why does big business have his support to continue to mistreat animals when that isn’t how we want things in North Carolina?
We need to lifehack our state government. I feel like it is time to remind these elected officials that they were elected to carry out our voice, and not make decisions on our behalf. They are representatives of districts of people, not their own pockets or personal interests. They actually work for us…
Call them up or send them a note. Let them know that if they don’t have an interest in carrying out our voice we can put someone else in their office.