SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A federal judge in Iowa has struck down the third attempt in recent years by the Iowa Legislature to stop animal welfare groups from secretly filming livestock abuse, finding once gain that the law passed last year violates free speech rights in the U.S. Constitution.

The decision Monday rejected the law approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in April 2021 that makes it a crime to trespass on a property to place a camera to record or transmit images.

The law made the first offense punishable by up to two years in prison and subsequent offenses a felony. The case is one of many so-called ag-gag laws that have surfaced in the U.S. in recent years that pit the right of farmers to protect their property from trespassers against animal welfare advocates.