Boise, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) - A controversial ag bill cleared another hurdle at the state house on Wednesday. The bill passed the House of Representatives on a 56 to 14 vote. It’s now headed back to the senate.

It’s the ag gag bill and, it would prohibit animal activists from spying on dairy and agricultural producers.

Idaho senators voted 23-10 to put people caught recording undercover video of agricultural operations in jail and fine them up to $5,000.

“I’m in support of it and I’m so hopeful that those whom assume that it’s all about hiding animal cruelty can understand that’s it’s about a bigger issue. Its property rights and everybody wants a right to be secure on their own property," said Rep. Maxine Bell.

Idaho dairies are promoting the measure following a video produced at a southern Idaho dairy in 2012 by the animal-rights group "Mercy for Animals."

"There was an incident sometime ago with animal cruelty. None of us condones animal cruelty. You cannot run a business with animals and treat them badly. It just doesn't work," said Bell.

Opponents argued the bill would put somebody behind bars merely for snapping a picture of a cow being abused.

"Unfortunately if this bill passes it will make a safe haven for animal abuse on Idaho factory farms. It will send a clear message to the rest of the world that Idaho farms have a lot of horrible corrupt and abusive practices to hide,” said Matt Rice, Mercy for Animals.

By Paul Johnson

Story Created: Feb 26, 2014 at 3:26 PM MST

[KMVT]