GENET archive


6-Regulation: Californian lawmaker wants to nullify altered crop ban

                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Lawmaker wants to nullify altered crop ban
SOURCE: Marin Independent Journal, USA, by Keri Brenner
DATE:   8 Sep 2005

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Lawmaker wants to nullify altered crop ban

A Central California legislator is pursuing a bill in the waning hours of
the 2005 state legislative session that would nullify Marin's voter-
approved ban on crops that include genetically modified organisms.

Sen. Dean Florez, D-Bakersfield, this week revived a bill attacking GMO
bans in place in Marin, Mendocino and Trinity counties, as well as the
cities of Arcata and Point Arena.

The bill, which Florez first introduced in June, would affect Sonoma
County's Nov. 8 ballot measure to establish a genetically modified crop
ban, and a proposed ordinance prohibiting biotech crops in Lake County.

The 2005 state legislative session ends tomorrow.

"Both the state and the federal governments have done virtually nothing
to protect communities from the release of GMOs, which, once released,
cannot be contained," said Mark Squire, of GMO Free Marin, which led
passage of Measure B last year banning the biotech crops. "These GMOs can
result in long-term dangers to health, small farms and the environment."

Squire and other Marin leaders are asking residents to contact Senate
president pro tem Don Perata and Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, to
urge them to block Florez's bill.

"It's important to let (Perata) know we are watching and we expect him to
do the right thing by ensuring that local rights with respect to this
critical issue are preserved," Squire said.

Florez, who amended the bill Saturday, could not be reached for comment
yesterday. It was not immediately clear when the bill would be heard in
the Senate.

Dave Kranz, a spokesman for the California Farm Bureau Federation, said
he thought it was a two-year bill that wouldn't be acted upon during the
current session.

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

TITLE:  GMO supporters file lawsuit over ballot wording
SOURCE: Petaluma Argus Courier, USA
DATE:   7 Sep 2005

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GMO supporters file lawsuit over ballot wording

Citing problems with the Sonoma County auditor-controller's impact
analysis and the opposition's argument in the ballot pamphlet, supporters
of Measure M, a ballot initiative seeking to prevent agricultural and
environmental contamination from genetically engineered organisms, filed
a lawsuit in Sonoma County Superior Court on Friday.

"The (Sonoma County) Farm Bureau has had their facts wrong all along, so
their ballot statement was no surprise," said Dave Henson, the main
author of the measure, and executive director of Occidental Arts &
Ecology Center.

Proponents of the measure, which will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, want
to halt printing of the ballot measure until the language is revised. The
first ballot pamphlets are scheduled to be distributed to registered
absentee voters on Oct. 10.

Opponents of the ballot pamphlet previously filed a lawsuit, objecting to
the language used in the proponents' ballot statement.

"My study shows that planting of GMO corn, soybeans and cotton has led to
a net 122-million-pound increase in pesticide use over the nine years
from 1996 through 2004," Benbrook said.

Henson objected to opponents' claim that every major farming organization
in Sonoma County opposes the ordinance.

"Two of measure M's sponsors are California Certified Organic Farmers and
the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, both long-standing farming
organization in Sonoma County," he said. "Both are filing declarations in
court to say they're behind us."

The petition also wants to eliminate the opposition's claim that
initiative writers did not consult with local agricultural leaders.

"I met with more than 20 leaders in Sonoma County agriculture, including
the agricultural commissioner and the heads of at least six grape growers
associations," Henson said. "I made major revisions based on their input."

The proponents' suit also claims that there is false and misleading
language in the fiscal impact analysis.

"It's grossly exaggerated. All of these projected are based on a
misreading of the initiative and the law involved, and a misunderstanding
of the basic science involved. We explained in a public meeting six
months ago specifically why these statements are false, so I can't
understand why we are still hearing these claims," Henson said.

Lowell Finley, an attorney for supporters of the initiative, feels that
laws have been violated.

"This is a clear case of both the county and the opposition violating the
law," he said. "Voters rely on the ballot information. According to the
elections code, it must be truthful and accurate. Unfortunately, both the
fiscal impact analysis and opposition ballot argument are not."


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
In den Steinäckern 13
D - 38116 Braunschweig

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