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Idaho's request to dismiss"ag-gag" lawsuit denied

Idaho's request to dismiss"ag-gag" lawsuit denied

By The Associated Press: Kimberlee Kruesi. CREATED Sep 4, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A federal judge has denied Idaho's request to dismiss a lawsuit arguing that the recently passed law criminalizing surreptitious recording at agriculture facilities is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill says in a ruling issued Thursday that the case raises First Amendment concerns because it restricts protected speech.

However, Winmill added that he is dismissing Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter as a defendant from the case because Otter does not directly oversee enforcing the law.

Animal rights, civil liberties and environmental groups are suing the state to overturn the so-called "ag-gag" law. The law, which lawmakers passed in February, was backed by Idaho's $2.5 billion annual dairy industry.