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6-Regulation: New Pennsylvania (USA) Seed Act prohibits localregulations against State law



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   "Townships have taken on farming issues because the state has refused
    to protect citizens' health, welfare and public safety, according to
    Tom Linzey, staff attorney in Chambersburg for the Community
    Environmental Legal Defense Fund. His group has drafted sample
    ordinances regulating factory farming, ordinances challenged by the
    farm bureau in court. 'The state is bought and sold by farm bureau
    and agribusiness interests,' Linzey said. Martin said there has been
    a push for municipalities to prohibit the use of genetically altered
    seed, such as Round-up-ready corn and soybeans."
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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GOVERNOR RENDELL SIGNS BILLS
SOURCE: State of Pennsylvania, USA
        http://www.state.pa.us/papower/cwp/view.asp?A=11&Q=439232
DATE:   Nov 2004

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GOVERNOR RENDELL SIGNS BILLS

HARRISBURG: Governor Edward G. Rendell signed the following bills into law:
[...]
House Bill 2387, sponsored by Rep. David S. Hickernell (R-Dauphin/
Lancaster), adds a chapter to Title 3 (Agriculture) related to seed. The
bill: provides for licensure of seed distributors; provides that it shall
be unlawful to sell seed that is not properly labeled; provides for
unlawful seed sales, such as when seed is not properly labeled, when the
seed is too weedy or when false advertising has been used; provides for
other unlawful acts, such as when one defaces a seed label or fails to
comply with a seed stop-sale order; and for fines and penalties; provides
that in certain circumstances, labeling requirements shall not apply to
grain or potatoes; allows a grower to request that the department inspect
his seed; and sets fees therefore; provides for powers and duties of the
secretary and the department as to seed; provides for suspension of a
seed-seller's license, and process for appeal; and repeals contradictory
sections of law. The bill passed the House, 192-0, and was approved in
the Senate, 46-0. It takes effect in 60 days.
[...]


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Seed Act
SOURCE: State of Pennsylvania, USA
        http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/BI/BT/2003/0/HB2387P3768.HTM
DATE:   Nov 2004

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THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

HOUSE BILL No. 2387
Session of 2004

Amending Title 3 (Agriculture) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes,
adding provisions relating to the labeling, sale and distribution of seed;
creating a licensing requirement for all seed distributors;
adding civil penalty provisions and specifying the appeal process;
providing for the powers and duties of the Department of Agriculture;
placing revenue into the Agronomic Regulatory Account;
prescribing penalties;
and making related repeals.

The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as
follows:
[...]

Section 2. Title 3 is amended by adding a chapter to read:
CHAPTER 71
SEED
[...]

§ 7101. Short title of chapter. This chapter shall be known and may be
cited as the Seed Act.
[...]

§ 7120. Delegation of duties; exclusion of local laws and regulations.
(a) Designation.
--All authority vested in the secretary by virtue of the provisions of
this chapter may with like force and effect be executed by such employees
of the Commonwealth as the secretary may from time to time designate for
said purpose.
(b) Statewide jurisdiction and preemption.
--This chapter and its provisions are of Statewide concern and occupy the
whole field of regulation regarding the registration, labeling, sale,
storage, transportation, distribution, notification of use, and use of
seeds to the exclusion of all local regulations. Except as otherwise
specifically provided in this act, no ordinance or regulation of any
political subdivision or home rule municipality may prohibit or in any
way attempt to regulate any matter relating to the registration,
labeling, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, notification of
use or use of seeds, if any of these ordinances, laws or regulations are
in conflict with this chapter.
[...]


                                  PART III
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Farmers seek aid against restrictions
SOURCE: Public Opinion, USA, by Jim Hook
        http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/factoryfarm042004.cfm
DATE:   20 Apr 2004

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- Battle Over Local Rights to Ban Factory Farms in Pennsylvania -
Farmers seek aid against restrictions

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau has stepped up its lobbying against local
ordinances that target agricultural practices.

More than 300 farmers from across the state gathered Tuesday in the
Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg. Eight local farmers met with area
legislative delegates during their annual spring rally.

The farmers joked that the lawn at the Governor's Mansion with all its
kitsch cows would need a concentrated animal operation (CAO) permit.

But they were serious in protecting "environmentally sound farm
practices" from "illegal local ordinances" -- in the words of Betsy
Huber, Master of the Pennsylvania Grange.

Gov. Ed Rendell vetoed a bill last year that would have allowed a farmer
to recover attorney's fees if he beat a township law ruled a nuisance
ordinance in court. If the farmer lost, he would have paid the township
attorney's fees.

Rendell had said he wanted a more comprehensive approach to the issue.

Farmers were in Harrisburg to ask the governor for his comprehensive
approach, according to Titus Martin, a dairyman from Fayetteville and
past president of the Franklin County Farm Bureau. Rendell didn't offer one.

More than 50 townships have exceeded their powers by adopting ordinances
that restrict the growth and operation of farms, according to the state
farm bureau.

Townships have taken on farming issues because the state has refused to
protect citizens' health, welfare and public safety, according to Tom
Linzey, staff attorney in Chambersburg for the Community Environmental
Legal Defense Fund. His group has drafted sample ordinances regulating
factory farming, ordinances challenged by the farm bureau in court.

"The state is bought and sold by farm bureau and agribusiness interests,"
Linzey said.

Martin said there has been a push for municipalities to prohibit the use
of genetically altered seed, such as Round-up-ready corn and soybeans.

Linzey said he is not aware of any Pennsylvania municipality that has
adopted such an ordinance, but his group has posted a sample ordinance on
its Web site. Vermont and California communities have taken action
against genetically modified seed.

The special seed offers higher yields to farmers, but environmental
groups have questioned the safety of genetically altered crops.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau has responded with a section in a bill
regulating the certification of seed. House Bill 2387 would prohibit
municipalities from regulating the registration, labeling, sale, storage,
transportation, distribution, notification of use or use of seeds.

Martin said farmers also lobbied state legislators about out-of-control
health care costs, property tax reform and regulation of manure haulers.




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