Carrie Underwood, Tennessee Lawmaker Spar Over ‘Ag Gag’ Bill
Carrie Underwood's tweets last week in opposition of the so-called "Ag Gag" bill did not go unnoticed in the Tennessee State Capitol. In fact, one lawmaker has publicly expressed annoyance at the singer's stance.
Both the House and Senate in Underwood's adopted home state have approved the Livestock Cruelty Prevention Act, which declares that anyone who photographs or films video of acts of animal cruelty must turn their unedited material in to police within 48 hours.
"What we need to do is make sure and recognize that if animals are being abused it needs to come to justice, and it needs to come to justice quickly," State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden), who sponsored the bill in the House, insists to Nashville's NBC affiliate, WSMV. "And that's the intention of this bill, bar none. No matter what anybody tells you."
But critics of the bill - including the country superstar - believe that it actually helps animal abusers get away with their crimes. The 48-hour deadline, they argue, is too short for a thorough investigation and might even prevent someone from turning in evidence, for fear of prosecution. Other arguments include the violation of First Amendment rights, along with risks the act may pose to food safety.
"Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who's with me?" Underwood tweeted Thursday.
When asked about that tweet, Holt had stern words for the singer. "I would say that if Carrie Underwood will stick to singing, I'll stick to lawmaking," he quipped.
After seeing Holt on the WSMV news report, the 30-year-old animal activist took to Twitter again to voice her frustrations. "I should stick to singing? Wow...sorry, I'm just a tax paying citizen concerned for the safety of my family. #NoAgGag," Underwood posted.
The Livestock Cruelty Prevention Act is now in Governor Haslam's hands. The Republican has not made any public indications of whether or not he will sign it into law. Similar laws have already been passed in Iowa, Utah, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Montana and North Dakota.
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