State Politics

Farm group urges veto of workplace bill

Another group is lining up against the employee trespassing bill, urging the governor to veto it.

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association delivered a letter signed by 35 members asking for a veto of House Bill 405.

Opponents say the bill is aimed at protecting agricultural operations from disclosure of animal abuse through undercover investigations or by whistleblowing workers. It is broader than that, however, and allows any employer to sue an employee who steals or takes video or photographs of workplace conditions.

Supporters say the bill wouldn’t preclude whistleblowers’ protection, but others say current law wouldn’t apply in those situations.

Animal welfare and labor advocates began pressuring Gov. Pat McCrory this week to veto the bill. The Humane Society of the U.S. launched a week-long TV ad campaign.

The farm group’s letter says in part: “By permitting severe repercussions against those who report on illegal activity on farms, HB 405 grants a free pass to those recklessly cutting corners, and as such, directly threatens our economic viability as responsible farmers and food producers.”