Feb. 2, 2012: If Washington State’s GMO-label bills, HB 2637 and SB 6298 don’t get voted out of committee by Friday at 5 pm, they’re dead, which is exactly what Monsanto-funded legislators on both the House and Senate Ag committees want.
The Senate’s Agriculture and Water & Rural Economic Development committee chair, Democratic Sen. Brian Hatfield, and two Republicans, Sens. Jim Honeyford and Mark Schoesler, have all taken money from Monsanto, reports the Organic Consumers Assn.
“Committee Chair Hatfield denies taking campaign cash from Monsanto, saying the Organic Consumers Fund is making ‘wild claims,’ even though anyone can see the public record of these contributions by entering ‘Monsanto’” at this search link in the Contributor Name box.
Sucks to be caught lying in public, but when a public servant does, that man ought to step down or recuse himself from the vote. That’s what someone with morals would do, anyway.
“If he’s willing to lie about being sold-out to Monsanto, don’t believe him when he says, ‘The truth is, this bill does not have the votes to pass out of committee.’ It’s more likely that he’s blocking the vote to protect Monsanto because the bill WOULD pass,” says OCA.
The House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources also has two politicians sucking on Monsanto: the committee chair, Democratic Rep. Brian Blake and Republican Rep. Joel Kretz.
Last week, two public hearings on the GMO-label bills were packed, with OCA transporting 50 people to each of them. You can watch the full Senate Ag hearing on the 26th here, and the House Ag hearing on the 27th here.
Residents are urged 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, urging passage of the bills out of committee.
In related news:
Kentucky takes on Big Ag in S.B. 47, a raw milk bill that would allow direct sales from farm to consumer as long as the milk and milk products are clearly labeled “Ungraded raw milk” or “Produced with ungraded raw milk.”
Kentuckians should take immediate action by calling the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) and leaving a message in support of S.B. 47 for the full Senate and your senator at 1-800-372-7181.
On Feb. 1, the bill was “passed over and retained in the Orders of the Day,” meaning the bill is being reworked before being submitted to the Senate for a vote.
While there is opposition to the bill, the latest version (which LRC has not posted) includes clarification about buying clubs, farmshares and herdshares, related to poultry and livestock, as well as direct sales of raw milk and raw milk products from farm to consumer.
You can read more about SB 47 at Food Freedom.
On Feb. 1, the Vermont House passed H.R. 13, a resolution declaring the inalienable right of all Vermonters to save and grow seeds. Last year, Vermont passed a raw milk bill allowing direct sales from farm to consumer. It’s also looking to label GMOs.
“Local Food is Homeland Security,” says Jessica Bernier of Vermont Coalition for Food Sovereignty.
There’s also a move afoot to get Monsanto VP Michael R. Taylor fired from the FDA.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture organized the Small Herd Dairy Working Group to meet with stakeholders. At the Dec. 17 meeting, the Food Rights Coalition proposed new rules for very small dairies, exempting them from the onerous rules and laws in place, which were written with a one-size-fits-all mentality.
The Coalition is looking to ensure the continued flow of organic, raw milk for its customers without undue interference from state regulators. You can read more about this at Civil Eats.
At least 15 states currently have GMO-label bills pending: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
You can read more about these and other food freedom bills at the OCA’s current legislation page.
© Rady Ananda, 2012. An earlier version of this article appeared at Activist Post.