New Hampshire House Bill 110


Summary

New Hampshire House Bill 110 would require anyone who witnesses an instance of illegal animal cruelty to livestock or poultry to report it to law enforcement authorities within 48 hours. The person must also notify law enforcement that he or she has evidence of the animal cruelty. If the evidence is video or photographic, it must be retained by the reporting party for 60 days.

Status

The New Hampshire House voted to lay the bill on the table. The bill is dead.

Analysis

Requiring anyone with evidence of cruelty to livestock or poultry to report it to the police within 48 hours will greatly inhibit the ability to conduct investigative reporting or filmmaking. Book authors and documentary filmmakers often needs months or years to properly report a story. They will not be able to cultivate sources if they cannot provide assurance that the source and the information they provided will not be reported to law enforcement within 48 hours. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that New Hampshire has no law granting journalists a right to shield their sources.

The bill further undermines the work of authors, writers and filmmakers by making them agents of law enforcement. It drafts journalists into service as the eyes and ears of the police, required to report an act of animal cruelty or risk criminal prosecution. It is anathema to investigative journalists, authors and documentary filmmakers to be considered an agent of law enforcement, and it makes it impossible for them to do important in-depth storytelling.

History

  • On January 3, 2013, the bill was introduced [3] and referred to the House Committee on Environment and Agriculture. The committee held a hearing on the bill on January 15, 2013 but took no action on the bill.
  • On November 1, 2013, Media Coalition submitted a memo [2] in opposition to an amended version of the bill.
  • The committee recommended the bill be passed as amended.
  • On January 9, 2014, Media Coalition submitted a memo [1] to the full House, reiterating our concerns with the bill.
  • The House voted to table the bill on January 22, 2014, with a vote of 322 to 15. The bill is dead.

Last updated: Jul 14, 2015