CAL. STATE LEGISLATURE TO CIRCUMVENT LOCAL CONTROL ON SEEDS
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
Newswithviews.com has learned that on June 24, 2005, Californians for GE-Free Agriculture were alerted that legislation will soon be introduced in California that would prevent counties, towns and cities from passing any local regulation on seeds.
The bill in question, AB1508, had been read several times in committee and is coming to a final vote on Tues. June 28. On Fri. June 24, language was proposed to dramatically amend the bill to include a provision that effectively overrides county and city authority to regulate seeds, including all genetically engineered seed. This would null and void the 3 California counties and 2 cities that have passed banís on genetically engineered (GE) organisms, and would prevent any future local organizing to regulate GE organisms in any way.
Similar legislation has been sweeping through states governments across the nation. Fifteen states recently have introduced legislation removing local control of plants and seeds; twelve of these have already passed into law. The uniformity of the language in each of these bills and their swift, back-door introduction indicate that this is a carefully coordinated attempt by the agriculture biotech industry to prevent local jurisdictions from passing moratoriums, bans or other restrictions on GE-crops.
Cal GE-Free and their allies say their mission statement is: "We are working to insure that California does not become the 13th state to pass legislation restricting local democracy in this way, and we will be calling on concerned citizens around California to speak out in defense of local rights in the event the amended bill should ever come to a vote in either the Assembly or the Senate. A broader appeal will follow if the bill passes through this Committee, and we will keep you updated as it progresses."
Organizers in opposition to this legislation are asking Californians to immediately call and put pressure on the Senate Agriculture Committee. According to Ms. Rosalind Peterson, "We will be subjected to seeds that can't reproduce on their own...will have to buy their seeds for reproduction...and we won't know what these corporations are engineering. Hope that you would oppose. Also a problem if these engineered seeds are not resistant to certain types of pests, fungus, etc. Then we could have massive losses and no other seeds to plant...also a way to force people to use only corporate seeds."
Cal GE-Free and other organizations in opposition to such legislation say the most important point on this issue is: Pre-emption undermines participatory strips away local control and democratic action, strips local control, and is a threat to citizen participation on issues of widespread concern. Cal GE-Free are asking concerned citizens to contact these legislators first on Tuesday morning, June 28, 2005:
Assemblyman Simon Salinas (potential author of the amendment - urge him NOT to author this amendment) Assembly District 28, Santa Clara, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties Capitol Office: State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0028 Phone: (916) 319-2028 Fax: (916) 319-2128
Assemblyman Juan Arambula (Assemblymember.Arambula@assembly.ca.gov) Assembly District 31, Fresno and Tulare Counties Capitol Office: State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0031 Phone: (916) 319 - 2031 Fax: (916) 319 - 2131 fax
Senator Deborah Ortiz (senator.Ortiz@sen.ca.gov) Member of Senate Agriculture Committee Senate District 6; Sacramento County Capitol Office: State Capitol, Room 5114, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 651-4006 Fax (916) 323-2263
Senator Dean Florez (Email: email@example.com) Member of Senate Agriculture Committee Senate District 16; Fresno, Kings, Kern and Tulare Counties Capitol Office: State Capitol, Room 5061, Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone (916) 651-4016 Fax (916) 327-5989
Senator Wesley Chesboro (Senator.Chesbro@sen.ca.gov.) Member of Senate Agriculture Committee Senate District 2; Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake, Napa and Sonoma Counties Capitol Office: State Capitol, Room 5035: Sacramento CA 95814 Phone: (916) 651-4002 Fax: (916) 323-6958
Senator Edward Vincent (senator.Vincent@sen.ca.gov) Member of Senate Agriculture Committee District 25; LA County Capitol Office: State Capitol, Room 5052, Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: (916) 651-4025 Fax: (916) 445-3712
Senator Jeff Denham (senator.Denham@sen.ca.gov) Chair of Senate Agriculture Committee Senate District 12, Stanislaus, Merced, San Benito, Madera Counties State Capitol, Room 3076, Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: 916-651-4012 Fax: 916-445-0773
Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (senator.Denham@sen.ca.gov) Senate Agriculture Committee District 36, Riverside, San Diego State Capitol, Room 5064, Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: (916) 445-9781 Fax: (916) 447-9008
Senator Charles Poochigian (senator.Denham@sen.ca.gov) Senate Agriculture Committee District 14, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Tuolumne State Capitol, Room 5087, Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: 916-651-4014
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This would null and void the 3 California counties and 2 cities that have passed banís on genetically engineered (GE) organisms, and would prevent any future local organizing to regulate GE organisms in any way.