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By Rady Ananda

Washington’s state legislature will hold public hearings this week on two new bills that would require labeling for genetically engineered raw agricultural commodities and genetically engineered ingredients offered for retail sale.

SB 6298 will be heard on Thursday in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water & Rural Economic Development:

Thursday, Jan. 26 at 10:00 AM
Senate Hearing Room 3
J.A. Cherberg Building
304 15th Ave. SE
Olympia, WA. 98501

HB 2637 will be heard on Friday in the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources:

Friday, Jan. 27 at 8:00 AM
House Hearing Room A
John L. O’Brien Bldg.
504 15th Ave. SE
Olympia, WA. 98501

GMO-Free Washington and Organic Consumers Assn. are organizing bus rides. The bus ride is free, but OCA is accepting donations to defray the cost. Organizers ask that you RSVP in advance. For the 26th, RSVP here. For the 27th, RSVP here.

Rep. Cary Condotta of the 12th District sponsored the House bill, while the Senate bill is sponsored by Senators Marilyn Chase (32nd), Sharon Nelson (34th), Paull Shin (21st), Karen Keiser (33rd), Christine Rolfes (23rd), and Steve Conway (29th).

GMO-Free Washington will also hold a public discussion on Monday in Seattle at the Ballard Library from 6-7:45 pm.

Whether or not you plan to attend the hearings, all Washingtonians are being asked to write and call their state representatives and senators, asking them to co-sponsor HB 2637 and SB 6298.

Folks are also asked to contact these members of the agricultural committees if you live in their districts. They are expected to decide the following week.

Elsewhere

Next month, the California Right to Know coalition expects to begin collecting petition signatures in support of a citizen initative, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. If they collect a half million legitimate signatures, the GMO label law will go to the voters in November.

The group is looking for volunteers and has scheduled petition training at dozens of locations throughout the state. They plan to obtain at least 800,000 signatures.

California is one of several states that allow citizen-sponsored legislation to be put to a public vote. Because previous bills submitted by state legislators to require GMO food labels never made it out of committee, the Right to Know group decided on direct democracy.

The Institute of Science in Society has put together a nice summary: The Case for a GM-Free Sustainable World.

© Rady Ananda 2012. All rights reserved. This article first appeared at Activist Post.

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