Oregon Legislators Sneak SB 633 into Tax and Pension Bill

SB 633, the preemption bill that would have stripped the rights of Oregon counties to control their local agriculture, has reportedly been quietly inserted into a  complicated tax and pension package currently under consideration by state legislators. This bill was aimed at blocking local communities from setting food and agriculture policies, including requiring labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods and other policies related to GE crops. According to the Oregonian, legislative leadership have included a new version of the policy from SB 633 “as a bargaining chip” to pass the tax and pension package [1].
 
Our legislators should not be bargaining away our rights in order to appease each other. Stop the inclusion of this bill NOW by contacting your state legislators and the Governor to voice your opposition to the inclusion of SB 633 in any tax and pension reform package.

If the policies from SB 633 become law in this tax bill, all local control of agricultural seed and seed products could be removed – replaced by a “one size fits all” policy dictated by the state. This bill is a thinly veiled attempt by the chemical companies to silence concerns over genetically engineered foods and gut all county efforts at addressing the growing of genetically engineered (GE) crops.

Jackson county voters succeeded in putting a measure to ban the growth of GE crops on the May 2014 ballot. While Jackson County may be exempted from SB 633, the proposed law would preempt all planned and future similar initiatives in other Oregon counties. Oregon citizens deserve to have their voices respected. The policies in SB 633 do nothing to protect local sustainable agriculture. Instead it takes away the rights of citizens to protect their food sovereignty.

Local policies such as the Jackson County measure have been instrumental in eliminating GE crops in other states.  Several counties and cities in California, Hawaii, Washington, and Maine have already adopted policies to ban the growing of GE crops in their counties. Oregon counties should be allowed the same level of local control as these other states. But the policies in Senate Bill 633, would strip counties in Oregon of their abilities to craft appropriate county-wide seed policies, instead giving exclusive regulatory power over seeds, and products of agricultural seed, to the state, preempting local authority. This could make it impossible to establish local policies which put restrictions or prohibitions on genetically engineered crops.

Your state legislators and the Governor need to hear your strong opposition to the inclusion of SB 633 now!

You can read the original bill language here

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[1] http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/09/inclusion_of_gmo_crop_policy_i.html#incart_river_default

Subject: No SB 633 inclusion in tax bill

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