Wyoming’s Data Collection Trespass Statute Violates the First Amendment of the Constitution

 

Oxbow Bend Sunrise (Grand Teton National Park)

Image by Ken Lane and shows Oxbow Bend Sunrise in the Grand Teton National Park

 

This post is not legal advice.

Recently, a federal court of appeals reversed a lower court decision involving a data trespass law passed by Wyoming in 2015. This new trespass law created criminal and civil penalties when a person trespassed to collect resource data on private property. The court of appeals concluded that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protected the collection of data and the new trespass law was unconstitutional. Wyoming’s new trespass law did not directly speak to protecting agricultural operations; many have viewed this law as a form of an ag-gag law. As we have discussed before, although it is unconstitutional for states to adopt these laws, producers still have options to protect their operations. Continue reading